Achunni Binu

Sometime in the winter of 1972

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You were in my dream, a few nights back.
Another morning dream, shorn and shredded,
bewildering pieces of netherworld memories.

I was lying on my back in my bed,
in my bedroom - in my dream,
and even long after It awoke me.
You were sitting on a chair next to me,
like a shrink administering promises of peace to his disturbed ward - till you no longer were.
You were weary patience,
you were pedestrian kindness,
you were compelled humanity,
and i knew it had to be me.

Our exchange and communion elude me
as they were meant to be,
yet something you said stayed and lingered;
or it could be the way you shuffled in your chair, a tiny ripple in your stagnant patience;
or it could’ve been your voice, echoed vaguely like offended charity,
that alarmed me, straining my heart,
tormenting it with connotations of what and all that you said or did,
while I lay still on my sore spleen.

And I remember asking you, “Do you think I’m immature?”.
As if, that was the whole point we were building up to,
all along our forgotten adjunction.
In a tone that conveyed to both of us that
the answer to it carried the weight of billions of stars and dust and all the time ticked back and forth.
As if the question wasn’t about my mind
but about my being or not, about it’s birth, fate and the beginning of time;
am I the fetid carcass of a stillborn foetus?
I remember watching you,
sitting there next to me, silent, for a long time or so it seemed.
As if you were trying to weigh the impact of your answer.
Would it rain, would the thunder bellow,
would the hurricane storm, would the earth split in the middle,
if you uttered the answer you already had?
Your eyes were cast beyond what mine could see,
along a path slanting down your navel, knees and ankles,
boring into the core of the magma.
I remember you finally looking up, and at me,
along a slow, meandering zigzag to a point your eyes had long left,
and a smile, like a frozen twitch, that announced the deliverance of a terrible truth,
you said to me, “Yes, you are... you are very immature”.

And it poured, thunder bellowed,
hurricane stormed and earth split and sank hopelessly under its own weight.
It rang loud and felt so true - it must’ve been true.
And I suddenly felt I understood why you took so long
and why you mulled so hard.
My being or not was now aware - inside the mangled womb,
split open and pulsating in the water ill-broken.
Dead and rotting, life playing hide and seek in spurts of spasms,
each a void in time.
An aborted soul, an apology to nothing,
a wind trapped inside a fist,
angrily bursting through its pores in writhing agony of sentience.
As if I had always known it,
like a castration forgotten,
till you peeled the skin back,
uncurled the fist remorseless.

I woke up in pain, to the hum of an eerie silence,
the frayed continuum of what was my dream,
impaled to the waking world
with the seamless nerve of some ancient sadness,
older than times past, stretched endless into times that weren’t yet.
You had left, your chair vaporised.
I lay there, dead and dreamless,
my fingers clutching the silky slippery sheet beneath,
my nostrils flaring in the vapid emptiness of another world,
my eyes dry and blurred.
And in the rubbery wetness of my blistered back,
I lay awake, like a skin shed,
a lizard’s tail-end abandoned.
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