The Breakdown

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Here’s an intense and evocative poem by Smita.


And then she was gone
And he paced the apartment,
A lone wolf, restless,
Its tongue hanging out . . .

He stood by the window
And gazed at nothing,
Heard the afternoon silence
Broken by an occasional honk,
The twitter of birds,
The vegetable vendor’s
Loud cry, listing
The items on his cart.

His heart thumped so loud
He felt its bump and burst
Through his thin cotton shirt.
A racing car whirred in his head.
A squirrel skittered all over the shed.

He raced down the stairs.
Maybe she hadn’t turned the corner.               
The harsh afternoon sun
Smacked hard the shadeless road
And waves of white heat
Like dancing white flames
Rose up and shimmered,
Colourless, transparent, clean . . .

The key in the latch,
The door giving way
To space;
His is empty house,
Like a stainless spirit
Quietly exiting the body
Of a blameless saint . . .

Pix from Net.



Smita Agarwal is a poet-critic and the author of Wish-granting Words, Poems, Mofussil Notebook and Marginalized: Indian Poetry in English. She has won awards from the British Council and The Poetry Society, India. She has been a writer in Residence at the universities of Stirling, and Kent. She is Professor of English and Director, Centre for Women’s Studies, Allahabad University, and a professional singer with samples of her songs available on You Tube and