Sweating in the cold

(Take time to read this tale,
It is of a man and his troubled dreams
and how his face grew pale
And his fore-head raised a-steam
In the cold of the winter)

The doorbell rang a countless number of times
One by one they came
All in accusation
Of some evil, by a man
Probably somewhere far off
In a village town by the Riverside.

There was much chatter at first,
The rooms had become much quieter now
And each light around me began to dim
In a kind of  consequential reaction to the quiet.

Without so much as a word being muttered
Much was being said
And everybody who had come
Seemed to have reached a point of understanding
All agreeing in sign and expression.

It was then that they began
A kind of volcano was to erupt just about then
Of which I knew very little
Until the deed had been done.

They stood up in unison
Their hands raised , one by one
Pointing somewhere,
Probably far off,
At the village town by the Riverside
At the evil that was there, probably.

A drop of sweat  trickled down my forehead
As I lay there by the bed
A strange occurrence in the middle of winter
My heart raced like a speedy sprinter
All their hands
All the  signs and expressions
All the fingers pointed at me
It was becoming hard to see
All the fingers pointed at me

And they all seemed to say,

The man of evil
He lived by the Riverside
Growing flowers of a kind
They said he had an absurd mind

And all their fingers pointed at me,

The evil man
Who lives by the Riverside
Growing flowers of a kind
I saw him in the mirror , it was he
It was me.

The volcano had erupted
The fire, ablaze
I saw only the firing blaze
All my life was but a haze,
I was not evil,
Or so I thought

I closed my eyes,
As I saw in the haze,
Twenty five men
And a fire that spoke the truth.

‘The evil man who lives by the Riverside
He killed her
Yes, it was he’
It was me. (They said)

I dissipated into the air
I had to go,
For the blood was on my hands
I wish they knew,
The blood was mine,
Well, that’s fine.
-Anirudh Shankaran.

Photographed by – Gireesh Singh.


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