“Man is sometimes extraordinarily, passionately, in love with suffering…” 
― Fyodor Dostoevsky

There is no life in this place; no vegetation; no predator or prey; just the shrill roar of industry like inaccessible noise rock. We sit, you and I, on the porch of this tumbledown house, smoking and sharing a bottle of rum.

The starless sky and oddly shaped crescent augment the bleakness of it all. Our eyes have grown hard like dull, brown stones and our hearts, harder like a cinder block ensconced in a rib cage.

Motes of dust scratch our faces like tiny razors cutting skin, but not deep enough to draw blood. We buried Mark on this day, last year and since that tragic day, weather and wither have adversely affected us. The weather inside reflects the sudden, drastic change of the weather outside – arid and decaying. And like the trunks of aging oaks, the wrinkles on our faces create folds that embody some nihilistic wisdom – something gained after some remote in our minds switched off sorrow and gave us an apathetic, grainy screen.

Words mean nothing now and silence haunts, and so, we drink to feel something even if it’s self-pity that punctures the very essence of life. We don’t greet each other; we’re like exhausted workhorses, but the irony is that we haven’t found work since our little cherub left us.

We’re living off what we’ve saved, and the money leaks like water from a broken pipe. We don’t love each other anymore, but we still persist because death creates a strange bond. One that makes two people live together though they paradoxically died together a long time ago.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

For Real Toads’ and Poets United 

21 responses

  1. All Hallows and The Day of the Dead say we carry our dead; sometimes we are the living dead and I think we live in a culture that is already dead. And when the taproot of a relationship is a lost one — I imagine here their child — then there is parenting the dead. The living know all these things, and existence becomes defined by “cold.” Or is, for a season, until the dead are allowed to fade into oblivion. That vigil and season in this write. Well done …

    • That is one of the bleakest albeit most beautiful comments I’ve ever received. It’s poetry. Existence is meaningless in the long run and purpose is transient. That’s my nihilistic view. There is an apathy attached to all things that echoes a Solomon when he says, ‘everything is meaningless; just a chase after the breeze.’ Thank you for your comment.

  2. I so love the grittiness in the setting of the scene, so often poets go to nature, but we actual live in modern cities… the wordless sorrow between the ones remaining is so true… I can feel the death as a wall between the “we”… but there is no parting just a cold cold bond.

    • I wanted this piece to be bleak and arid, and judging by your comment, I think I’ve given it justice. I take to nature myself sometimes but it’s just a fleeting fling or an ephemeral thrill. The to-the-bone rawness of life inspires me more. I love wordless sorrow btw. Thank you for such an insightful comment.

  3. Death comes to everyone, but when it comes close to us it is even darker than we could imagine. Death makes for strange companions. This piece feels expresses how tragedy can turn two people into the walking dead. Amazing writing! Thank you so much for taking part in the prompt.

  4. The death of a child does test the relationship. It is though you have failed, you feel guilty and can’t bear to look each other in the eyes and fail at everything you do. But you can get over that if you are very strong..

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