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Rust

By Suma Nagaraj


Grief likes to stick around

She is that spot of stubborn rust in your cookware

Unwelcome but always there

She's like the relative that overstays

Plonks herself on the couch

In every gathering, every get-together

Ignored

Until someone deigns she deserves to speak and be heard


But see, she doesn't need that invitation

Her words creep in through crevices

Through the thickest of defenses

Into the empty spaces that punctuate

Pointless conversation that goes nowhere

A word or two, sometimes a word cloud

Like a hot breath

That catches you unaware



And leaves you struggling to find

The right word to say

That day

Because the words she puts in your head

Are not the ones they want to hear

Are not the ones you want to say


She hovers, lingers, looks at you with pity

With maddening understanding

From the corner she is relegated to

And when she latches on, as she will,

She wants to play Do you remember?


But these days, all I want to do is laugh


Because it's a good life, isn't it,

When the ickiest aspect of your day

Is the tiny spot of rust

That an errant water drop left behind


In your spotless iron pan

That you will scrub away in the morning


For now, grief and rust can wait

Because all I want to do is laugh


By Suma Nagaraj




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