The value of dissolution, part 2

Chhoti Bahu, big-eyed, liquid-limbed,
held by inner-space, broidered and decorated,
sharaab-hazed, throwing petals:
what could be more gentle? He flinches, even so.
Are the roses carved from flint? Does he hear her song
loud, an acid vibration in his ears? He winces, ducks,
and lays the blame on her, then reaches down
at last to stay her. Lit up, she catches his hand.
That’s what she wants,
a voluntary touch of attention and respect.
Nothing more: just a little two-way conversation.
He lets himself be held,
then tears himself away.
Note: he lets himself be held,
then has to
tear his hand from hers.
Meena Begum was never more beautiful than when
she’s at his feet in this role,
her hair a river of dark silk, God-made
to cool his jumpy skin.
Her love’s stronger than his lazy self-contempt,
and when he’s ill, and honest thus, he remembers,
and lets himself be gathered in.
She can’t save him – not one of us
can save another, forever. But we try.
Her sacrifice is a gift he says he doesn’t want,
but takes. In time, far away in some
limitless place, her dissolution softens
the harshness he had learned to breath.

(part 1 isn’t written, and maybe never will be.)

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