The Dream Speaks

by Smriti Verma

In the mist, you must not speak.
You must not move, flinch a muscle, an eye
or an organ, you most certainly – must not bow.
(Or remember what was, would be, what passed.)

There is a bear waiting in the corner,
and the hour of this mist welcomes you,
in this ruined town, long gone.
(This is suspension at 3am.)

“Oh yes, this is the thrill of not being.”
“Oh, it is the cold wind that came from the Himalayas to slap my face.”
“Oh, there is nothing like the rush of staying still.”
“Oh, what clarity.”

There are pillars for arms,
branches for fingers, and all you
can do is touch them – with the lightest of touches,
and remember only the colours, the feel.

Caress the outer bark,
the glass, the plastic and the twigs-
giving life to what was taken from you,
letting the mist be an embrace

in itself. When the silence does go,
when there is no heaviness in that blue shoulder,
no stiffness, and no lethargy to lean on,
the glint in your eyes will vanish,

along with the quiet.
I will be your saviour then – you,
a still fish in the grasp of my hand.
I promise not to make you squirm.