“He put His lips to my ear and didn’t say a thing.”
– Jaime Sabines
Did you know that your choice of not speaking
is also speaking enough?
When god put his lips to my ear and said
nothing there was no god. There is no god.
When the fire brigade reaches the end of the street
after a house burns down, your silence
often becomes a voice; god never said a word to anyone.
When he put his lips to my ear it was dark
in the midst of rain, I didn’t – couldn’t – see
him. The man sitting
by my side died three days later, he’d said he was
homeless, his house burnt;
when he died his lungs were found filled with water –
they said he had drunk too much of it. Nobody
ever recited the verses at his burial.
There was nobody to recite them; nobody to be recited to.
Someone just looked up, and smiled.
When later you go there again you’ll learn
what you’ve made of this world, in silence.
(for Abeer Ahmad)
Note from the poet: [This poem] has an epigraph from Jaime Sabines, and tends to talk about political unrest – and also what we suffer on basic human levels (India has become a proper ground for these lately, with nationwide protests, and also the effort to silence the protesters similarly). It also tries questioning us for what we’ve made of this world, and whether we’re now ready to speak against what is wrong or if we’re still just as much comfortable in keeping mum. The format of the poem for me, on the other hand, is all about abruptness – the way we’ve all been abrupt regarding our decisions for the world at times; for me it’s about little breaks and sudden not-much-subtle movements.
Jayant Kashyap is a Pushcart Prize-nominee, and among other achievements, one of his poems was featured in the Healing Words awards ceremony, and several others won places in Young Poets Network’s challenges. He is a Microbiology Bachelors student in India, and also the co-founding editor of e-magazine Bold + Italic, an amateur photographer with several publication credits, a book reviewer and a food blogger. His debut chapbook, Survival (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, 2019), is out now. [Twitter: @jaydkash ; Blog: https://giantketchup.wordpress.com/]