Fate

He was a teetotaler, but his wife drank,
now and then, a little gin to relax her
after a hectic day, counseling teenagers with
existential problems, unnecessary, unwarranted,
undying, that one day they went to a party
with their 12-year-old, and she was a little tipsy,
but he kept his discipline, and as he drove back,
passing winding curve after curve, the son
asking questions, the wife’s laughter making
him smile, he kept his discipline, but
reality often pivots the rules we make like a
top spinning, a car spinning after a truck
nicked the edge, memories spinning, lives loved
slipping, he woke up, his life spinning,
spiraling down, and moments
paused for a long sequence,
and a new cycle began, watching everything
he had coast in the grey and touch
the blue, cold river,
his discipline slipping, and he visited a shrine,
his sanity slipping, hoping to look for the
dead still waltzing, walking, waiting,
but found nothing, no Cadmean victory,
and red droplets of anguish, turned a fiery
orange, and he lost his discipline, relationships
with widows, their children unattended to,
uncared for, flings with married women,
their husbands too old and prosperous,
and then finally a glass, no…two…three…
four…ten glasses of gin each day, justifying
it with the nostalgia of that last moment with her,
walking down winding curve after curve,
haggardly, horribly scarred by the pockmarks
of fate, looking up in anger, yelling, “You’re
responsible! You’re responsible!” Looking down
in self-loathing, whispering, “I’m responsible,
I’m responsible,” looking back in senselessness,
asking a mute, “Why?” Having lost work and purpose,
and finally drifting in and out of consciousness…

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Protected by Copyscape

18 responses

      • You’re welcome!
        I work in a hospital and can sneak you in and hook you up to a replenishing drip to hydrate your shrivelled innards friend!

      • I remember being terrified as a child when I had pneumonia. The lights and strangers prodding me and yes, the smell. But now I no longer notice the smell, and I counter the memory of brusque strangers with a smile and atypical empathy. Anything to allay the look of fear …

      • Atypical empathy. I’m moving towards atypical apathy and nihilism. Should learn a thing or two from you. Both counter fear though. That and reduced caffeine!

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