No one asks after the swans.
Past the dark night, beneath boughs
of red flowers I am yet to name, I look over
and wonder where the light travels to.
There is a bridge here, curving, to
walk on when we are slow, exhausted.
In the deep night with its threaded silver
we are still laughing. Later, I sit and wonder
who that was, laughing. I am sure
this story wasn’t sad the first time I
said it. It wasn’t funny either, it was just
who I was. Two hours since I can see
what changed—a vanished bird—yet
who I was still remains, debris stitched
into my skin, thirteen puncture hole
reminders of how we never really removed
the masked screens, not even when we were
eating, not even when the crowds thinned,
not even when I was on a trapeze, for an
audience of six. Long past,
I am twisting my fingers, eking out the flesh,
turning them deep and hollow like bird
bones, thinking of what went wrong, what can
be right. The moon shifts shape. The bird
is still in the waters, an eternal performer,
dancing without knowledge of the dance,
the watchers, the cool stillness of the waters.
Stuti Pachisia is a doctoral student and poet based out of Cambridge, UK and Calcutta, India. Her previous work has been published in The Rialto, Capsule Stories, The Seventh Wave, Reach Out & Beyond, The Alipore Post, Cleaver Magazine and Scroll. In 2020, she was a finalist for the prestigious Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize, a national award for Indian poets. Twitter: @steewtweets
Swan and Water illustrations by C.B. Auder.
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