Prabhakar Subramaniam

Nothing - Poem by Prabhakar Subramaniam

From inside the locked wooden cupboard
Our landlord had abandoned
In a corner of the hall
Right against the wall
Everyone often heard
Something sinister
Sometimes a whisper,
A scrape, a sniffle, a him or her
Especially on a cold night or a deserted hour.
All who were called in, well
Had a story to tell
'Must be the landlady's sister's spirit!
The one who hanged herself, desperate! '
An elderly lady said, as if with envy.
Children hoped aloud for a genie
That would fetch them, grateful
The dark shop halwa, by the plateful
Before they would let it fly
With a reluctant goodbye
Like they did the dotted butterfly
They caught the other day
As it lay drunk or dreaming on a flower.
'Let's open it and find out, what's in there! '
The curiosity getting the better of fear
The key was fetched and someone flung the double doors open
Older children standing guard with raised makeshift weapon - -
Younger ones, ready to run, by the door - -
What a blow! What a letdown! Nothing was there! Nothing but air!
Not even a note with a curse
Leave alone an imp or spirit or worse.
And worse - - the noise stopped abruptly after
It was heard no more
Though we wished we could, once more
And kept our ears open
Wanting to be shaken
Out of our wits, again.
Though we begged the cupboard to speak
Wanted it to squeak
Implored it didn't look right
It didn't budge, just stood quiet.
Somehow, it didn't seem fair
That the cupboard was bare
That someone didn't care.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013

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