Poems by
Rhea Muthappa

The crumpled sheet

a poem by Rhea Muthappa

Fair and strong, not a crease on her body
Perfectly white, as she was meant to be
She stood as clear as the summer sky,
Ready to be drenched in shades of gold

She waited for this moment
The very moment, she would call her own
The moment she would be the painter’s muse
The moment she would no more be just a sheet of paper

Here she was, resting beautifully
Aware, but intoxicated by the eyes of the artist looking deep into her
She tried to shy away, but felt the clutches holding on to her limbs
She tried not to panic, this was her destiny
Or so, she was told

She felt the initial strokes of the brush
Colours running intricately through her veins
He looked at her like she was the most beautiful thing he ever saw
She felt beautiful, she was beautiful

For a brief moment, she felt perfect, she felt complete
She felt his bare hands, clutching her, running through her
The next instant, he pushed her away
Crumpled her, choked her, destroyed her

He never looked back, never thought of mending her
Maybe he didn’t think she was enough
Maybe he didn’t think she was worth
She lay on the ground, helpless, worthless

The rains washed away, the colours
Drained away, what was left of her
People came, people left, trampled all over her
With days, she got dirtier, she got worse

She dreaded the hope she carried along
She missed her anticipation to be painted on
She loathed the world and the dreams it gave her
She cursed the promise that broke with her heart

She gave up, she took it all in,
The pain, the dirt, and her broken soul
She lay helpless, a crumpled sheet of paper
As she drew her final breathe, she felt the touch of warm hands

A child’s hands, maybe, picking her up
Smoothening the creases, brushing away the dust
Blowing life into her, making her worth again
She could hardly smile, but she felt purpose rushing back into her

She was wanted again, she was precious again
She felt the strokes of paint again,
But this time, the artist was no artist
She felt his weak unsteady hands, draw raw shapes on her

They were messy, meaningless, ugly, almost
But she felt better than she ever felt before
She felt the love running through her along with the colours
She felt the effort and care put in,
She knew, she would be no masterpiece like she dreamed to be
She knew she would just lay around in a drawer

But little did she know her worth
She was more than what she thought she was
More than a mere painting
She was the love of a son,
She was the message of a dying child
She held within her all that was left unsaid
She was the last treasure he left behind

She felt her worth everytime the mother held her close to her chest
Everytime the father smiled at her teary eyed
Everytime the little brother tried to replicate her
Everytime people praised her flaws

Her creases now made her prettier,
Her dirt filled pores, made her stand out
Her pain, her agony reflecting in her texture
She did, one fine day, become the masterpiece she wanted to be.