there comes a day — the sacred basil plant
becomes leafless as the sun turns aloof &hides
behind the rich notes of a sugar-white air.
you are winter’s errand boy — hours
spill out of your deep coat pockets, dog-
minstrels struggle for every minute
they can perform — you would rather be away
down a bazaar of oddities where they
sell woollens by weights (first-rate &down),
or in the alleys where many a breath paused,
and never set again amid a litter of chests.
you are my winter’s warning prayer
that can only rise so far above before
the fog envelops you whole. your words
taste of stale chocolate, peanut husks,
&a once-hot-tea gone cold — but your lips,
crooked dreamlike, magenta &apple-rose lit
give me loss and warmth — our wreathed
solemnity is like burning coal. it is red-hot,
to last the long mass of our heathen sighs.
there comes a day when you leave, shadow-
born, as the year closes its tiny fist,
and you hold me like a stranger, like
a memory — ice-crusted and quicksilver,
dewy-eyed and varicose lines — of blue candles
burning slowly, casually, to a holy ending.
By Anmol HA