Poems by

First Love: A Valediction

a poem by Thethikutty

Sandalled feet drag along the dusty road,
Stirring up silver dust in the moonlight,
Bereft of purpose without your large ones to follow.

My breath catches in my throat as I look up;
There, spread below the old tamarind tree
Are the familiar cement benches.
The myriad moonlight shadows of the tree
Etched across their rough surface.
They were ours once,
Yours and mine.
We came here on our walks
Our conversations on theatre, poetry and art make heavy the air.

From memory I scratch out a smile,
A woven crest, the clasp of a hand.
A festival erupts within me
But the joyous raptures subside,
Tears blur my vision.
I can almost see your face laughing at me through the shadows,
Leaning nonchalantly against a bench.
Beautiful, sensitive friend.
You freed me from my insecurities
And gave me the strength to reach out.

But that was half a decade ago.
We have struck out in opposite directions since
From this old gnarled tamarind tree.
Years and miles divide us now.
I can no longer carry the weight of your memories.
I leave them in that niche between the knotted roots that you loved so much.

I turn away,
The silence of the valley soothes me,
We loved it so much
This ethereal silence,
You and I.
Now it is all that remains between us.
An ethereal silence.
And I,
I feel strangely liberated.