Poem 1: Madame Chrysanthemum: The old lady who refuses to die Wearily I sit here, by the last licks of daylight, wallowing in my sorrow pools, swimming, diving, surviving, knowing thinking muddies the waters, knowing all chrysanthemums must bloom, must wilt, plucking at pains to dislodge them, hunting the wounded fawn, with myself for company, as the origami sky folds at the horizon into yet another punishing, sober night, and the crime of contemplation leaves us high like shook up soda cans. Meanwhile, thin shadows vanish into quiet nights, closing their fingers into fists of darkness. I sit here, still an aberration for existing, still into the still night, still weary. That garden around my house is flourishing The one that my grandmother nurtured through wartime The garden that my mother watered through peace time The cheeky pumpkin swelling on the ground in the garden Blowing kisses into the breeze as I stand at the window sending wishes To my children in that far away foreign land stressed, distressed and lost. The girl in the mirror is gone grey The twinkle in the eye has been stolen by the stars The spring in her walk is gone with the wind The words in her mouth have found their way into the woods She is now quiet, with a walking stick at the end of her shriveled hands Can barely see, hear, walk, talk, remember or retell the stories of this her home. The girl in the mirror, a shriveled raisin, Waves are washing up the shores of her heart and receding. The tears rolling down are salty, drying up as at the motion picture Life makes no sense, seems unfair, why is everything over so soon? From dust we come and unto dust we shall return. Worms shall flourish on her graves, among golden Chrysanthemums.
Poem 2: Meeting the Madame Chrysanthemum Remember not this pleasant evening, The sunlight orange like fat chrysanthemums, like new prison jumpsuits, And foreign winds that overhear and run away. These days, thoughts crumble like old cookies And paper plans crumple like paper boats And night doesn’t come confidently alone. Along comes a dark light, Nightmares and memories, rather indistinguishable now, Fight and tire and cease, for the light of day. I speak too much I am told By those who find it hard to hear So, like the clock you forgot is ticking, My voice disappears into thin air. These days we share watered down versions Of our so-called lives, from whispers to roars, So hollow, we resound the joys of others as they diffuse into our own. We were iron but rust got to us. Fortunate are those who forget, Blessed are those who have forgotten all.
Poem 3: Madame Chrysanthemum in hospice These narrowing tempered glass walls are a hazardous peril, Oft we forget they are always there for us, Parents to bumpy bruises, so do the flies. How can a place so brightly lit, feel like darkness itself? In my introspecting excavation, I leave behind a hole Through the lobotomized head, Where sense needn’t sense anymore, And there is tunnelling light For the passing thoughts, As the precision of my vision, Is only limited by the imagination of my mind.
Dr. Vaishnavi Pusapati previously published 16 poems in Drabble, Dreich, Havik, 50 word stories, 50 give or take, Five Minutes, Molecule. Micro fiction Monday, Plum tree tavern, Wingless Dreamer among others.