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Elegy for a Poem by Gita Viswanath

Painting by the poet herself

Metaphors twisted like a unalome

and drowned in a bucket of soaked clothes.

Similes stumbled down the stairs

and fractured a few bones.

Conceits hovered over the chillies

drying on the corridor and vanished.

Alliterations ambled along

only to fall over each other.

The knock on the door

broke the flow of words.

The cooker’s whistle

blew away the lines on the page.

The pesky phone’s ringtone

blurred the image in my head.

Finally, I placed the poem in a coffin

and consigned it to dust.

It deserved an honourable burial

but custom decreed baptism before.

Tedium, the high priest, bent over

the basin of boredom to do the needful.

The epitaph read:

Here lies a poem

Daughter of fancy and solitude

Born on this day

At 1434 hours.

Died this day

At 1436 hours.

Its two-minute life

Was a personification.

Gita Viswanath is a Baroda-based writer. Her novel, Twice it Happened, was published in 2019 by Vishwakarma Publications, Pune. She is also the author of a non-fiction book, The ‘Nation’ in War: A Study of Military Literature and Hindi War Cinema, published by Cambridge Scholars, UK in 2014 as well as a children's book, Chidiya. Her poems have been published in Kavyabharati No 28 and Coldnoon, an online journal. Her short story, “Paper Gods,” was published in Muse India, May 2020 and “The Return of the Dead” in Borderless Journal, August 2020. Her short films “Family Across the Atlantic” and “Safezonerz” are available on YouTube. She has completed a course in Art at the Vadodara Visual Arts Centre, Baroda.


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