The first time I met her,
I met her eyes instead of her
and the sweating palm
that didn’t go with her charm.
Oh, how she managed to remain calm.
But as I stood among the audience,
each trapped in their worlds
with stories and histories
and hysterics that filled the air
they kept breathing,
I listened to the million voices
raging in my ears, each demanding attention
each pushing me a little to the edge,
petrified, I stood in the crowd, misplaced.
…when you think you can’t take it anymore,
she was reciting,
as if saying what I dared not speak,
but beyond the strength and the zing
I could see in her eyes,
the makings of the same cliff.
This cliff that demands my fall,
enticing me with its heavenly call,
to take me to a place that will be mine,
without a soul to judge, without anything divine.
And I knew I could hold on to her and stayed,
but to succumb, to lose myself clinging to her,
meant both of us that I would have betrayed.
It has been years and many such recitals
till she gave up and started to fade away.
But I remember that first afternoon after the event,
when among the dust motes
the sun-kissed air smelling of spent love,
lying next to her, I didn’t take the offered hand,
thinking it was me who had to take the leap.
And every time the thought fills me with a pang,
a slap on my soul it strikes me with a bang,
if she was instead the one
who was stretching her hand for me to pull her back,
yearning for me,
in her poetic interludes,
maybe she wanted to hold on
and I let her slip away,
so that instead of us, our cliffs stood together,
but finally defeated as they faced
the union of our towering solitudes.