UNSTEADY CHILD ON A PORCH
by RK Biswas
Listen: Freedom is the honey doled
out from a spoon. A coffee-spoon
if you please. Choose
your steps with care. The sun alights
upon your eyes and casts shadows. The path is cold
and lonely across sun-warmed stones. The space
ahead is forlorn. What lingers in your thoughts?
You are hardly ripe
enough for meaningful contemplation. But time
is a path, and a stairway too, leading somewhere
or nowhere at all. And few steps on
you will know your gait, your speed, and perhaps
even your direction. Who will you be then? What
will you become once you go from here
to there? You look out from the safety
of your porch with happy expectations. What if
you took a tumble? Would you still be
the you of your first tender imaginings?
How will you tackle the shadows
of unchartered places? Plant a foot
before and after each unmapped
step? Will your heart ever hark
back to the day of your first bruise?
The steps tempt. The steps call, and will
do so again and again. How you let in
the sun is entirely up
to you. Be illuminated. Be blinded. Be
warm within your skeletal-self. Scorch
your feet. No matter what,
the steps will always be there. Calling.
And, a day will come when you will go. A day
will come when freedom will be just
like the fine sand grains you had once held
in your chubby fists, gurgling with laughter
as you watched them slip
from your fingers and run free. Your eyes
were so wide then. Entranced
to see the sands falling through whimsical air.
Alive and escaping.
* * * * *
RK Biswas is a writer from India. Her novel "Culling Mynahs and Crows" was published by Lifi Publications, India. Her poetry and fiction have been published widely. She was first runner up in the 2016 DNA-OOP Short Fiction Contest, India. She won second prize in the India Currents Katha Literary Fiction Prize for her story ‘It Comes from Uranus” in June 2016. Her novel was listed as one of the 20 most popular books published in 2014 by The Readers’Club, Delhi. In 2012 she won first prize in the Anam Cara Writer's Retreat Short Story Contest. Her poem "Bones" was a Pushcart Nominee from Cha: An Asian Literary Journal in 2010. Her poem "Cleavage" was long listed in the Bridport Poetry Prize in 2006 and also was a finalist in the Aesthetica Contest in 2010. Her story Ahalya's Valhalla was among Story South's Notable stories of the net in 2007.