Treasure Island

Salil Singh

(19th April 1991 / Agra)

It Is.

Its right there
Couldn’t you see it?
Rippling invisible thing
You can catch it if you try.

You’ve seen it, I’m sure,
My old agile child!
Maybe out of the corners of your beloved’s eye?
Escaping, forever escaping
Spinning, but you caught it.
Did it slip?

You have seen it, I know!
Like when you were an infant
and you idled an hour
chasing a squiggle across your eyeball.
Like when you were
not yet mature
and your hands would rub your belly
in public.

Felt it!
In the final morsels of a meal –
Meat and gravy.
In that tiny time before you kissed her,
And when a newspaper slid
Under your door and you stepped over it,
Lone pixel in a bitmap, anonymous.

Known it!
When you learnt that freedom is
Only you consecrated
And if the unexpected
Should make things complicated
When you learnt to flee them
Freedom infinity breathing!

And if you are old in soul
Wisdom is a dog
Faithful under a table
And mild-mannered.

I put it to you,
Tall drawn bodily one,
That if you are the amber mare,
I am the road of blood.

Or seen it,
In a corner of a grubby bathroom
At lights-out time.

You have passed it in time,
In grand gestures
And miniscule hand to mouth motions

Or when you got it
At the belly
Or at the head,
dealing in blown-outness,
In put-outness.

Seeing it in ridiculous places unwary
And laughter ridiculouser!
Or alone
Or at a barbers, that one time.

Its in faces.
Like when you saw a girl with a manface
When you were thirteen
And you got it then,

It’s in places.
In water and its green worlds
If you’re looking at it right.

I put it to you
Intelligent arched brooding one
That if you are the missing link
I am the diamond file.

Its not in knowledge alone
Or outside it.
Its in the tip of a hat to some
In footwalking streets streets trains
In rain!
In asking
In giving
In taking

Its in your legs!
In the spring of your sole
It passes through dancers eyes
Through sculptors hands
Through the smiling and crying
In the sorrowful it sits; Injustice.

I put it to you,
Things of beauty,
That if you are the clouded moon,
I am the crystal dawn.

Its in mother
Blowing on your stomach
When you were little; with her lips

It was in that little boy
With fish eyes,
When you were a girl,
And in breasts;
as a boy.

Didn’t catch it then?
You were looking too hard.
Its in Sita passing below
Into the chasm
Opened for her alone.
It was in Greece
In eureka and the rest
It sat in our villages eons ago.

I put to you, erudite,
broad- foreheaded one,
if you wish to Jesus these lepers
I’d have to be Judas too,
And I’d do that for you.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, December 24, 2013

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