Tulips – Freeverse
(after Sylvia Plath)
The tulips have been here for some time, I haven’t adored them.
White marshmallows, cotton candies, dancing in the wind
That comes from nowhere. I can’t feel the air, it’s rich with pain.
A few tulips are like rubies drawn fresh from the blood of my first crush.
I have no concern about the exams I should face a week later.
I pray for the hurricane inside me – subside, subside.
A pure-white ostrich walks in with my oats porridge in her hand.
Each one of them looks like an ostrich because they stand on one leg,
As I drink up the nauseating porridge without a complaint.
I try to get some shut-eye but it’s time for an injection.
They inject the green substance like it’s ichor taken from a God’s vein.
The tulips laugh at me as they sway gently to an unheard tune.
All the dredged-up memories of the previous day come gushing.
My mother’s voice floating above everything – what should we do?
The tests were not an ordeal. My cast-iron body took it all.
The ache grew bigger and bigger, bigger than the stretcher I was in.
The lady who shaved me shaved my apprehensions too.
How liberating it felt, each scrape of the razor on my fleshed fruit.
The lady told me stories about village women who rebelled.
I hooted like a kid wanting a new toy at the fair.
I was fourteen, it was 2008, and the Internet was unknown.
I rehearsed the songs I had heard in the past week in my mind.
What could one do with all the green, white, and silver sickening them?
I floated with the memories of a stalker who wrote notes to me.
I introspected about 2007 when the air felt lighter.
I thought about my books, and how they’d manage my absence.
I informed Prerna about my impending surgery.
She told me she’d send flowers, but the tulips weren’t sent by her.
The anesthetist told me he hated biology in school.
I had a few questions for him but he was young and cute.
He gifted me an unforgettable sleep, I still search for him.
If nothingness felt so peaceful, I could have a hundred surgeries.
Was it my inner voice? Or was it an angel who sang to me?
I wanted to stay in that realm and warp the space-time continuum.
In that emptiness, I freed myself from the shambles of routine.
I spiraled into oblivion when someone awoke me.
How ghastly ambrosial the sudden fear felt!
I conjured a thousand suns and knelt before them to help me live.
Soon I was thrown into a room like an unwanted relic.
That’s when I sniffed the tulips, staggering, ambushing fragrance.
Sweet companions, their mouths closed, they kept a watch over me.
Hatred coursed through my veins, I didn’t ask for caretakers.
Now the morning’s yellow-gold. I lick a sun ray from my palm.
The moon has unclutched herself from the grasp of the goddamn tulips.
I want to admonish them, they disease the air with their presence.
I blame them for my excruciating pain, I can’t stay calm.
They still make fun of me, though my stomach contains only oats.
I remind myself I’d crush them and make a perfume for Prerna.
Friendship Day for us would be at the mercy of bottled beauties.
The tulips are divas, each posing for an unseen photographer.
The nurses show me my removed appendix, now in a solution.
I want to bury it inside the tulips’ pot so that they can soften.
They are opening, their cracks a bit too distracting.
I become soluble as they take birth, my pain a dream for a moment.
I fly and crash at their petals like a gleaming pixie.
The tulips metamorphose into good health.
©Kavya Janani. U
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You can check out my other freeverse poems here: Freeverse Poems by Kavya Janani.