Poem: Wild And Windswept

Artwork By Shirish Ghatge

Silver hair – streaks of platinum keratin
like lightning on a dark waterfall
Deep-set deep-brown kajoled eyes
like black-rimmed almonds
Creased skin – a magnificent chronicle of age and defiance and journey
It’s all magic
Bodies: gentle and soft and immovable
Feet: dancing to a rhythm I cannot yet hear – that I have yet to learn how to listen to
I long to be taught this magic
to be tutored in the wisdom that belongs to older women;
the magic they call upon with the ease of a blinking eye and a smile
it’s all charmed
I’m charmed
I’ll do whatever they ask of me
let them lead me into battle
they have fought wars I never will;
been part of revolutions no man could ever weather
and still, here they stand
wise and windswept and wonderful
all magic and miracle
but human and still hoping
when these women move through the streets of our cities
the thunder is not worthy of rising to meet them
it cowers behind thin, grey clouds
grand and callous mountains fold into the soil
softer than lamb fleece
but the earth swells to meet their atmosphere
blooms at every breath they take
longing, like me, to be healed by the divinity of their presence
I am taught by these women
fortunate enough to have had them raise me
whether in my house or oceans away
across time
across the pages of the books I have loved
the books that have loved me back
I have borne witness to their power and their might
to place my feet in the impression of their footsteps
and feel brave again
and they are not perfect, of course
hurting and heaving pain around in their own ways
I am aware of their weaknesses
but not afraid of them
it is these women
these wind-swept wild wonderful women
who hold me together
keep me floating
whose silver hair comforts me
like a blanket shelters a body from the ice fingers of November
I am enthralled and in awe of this silver hair
I eagerly await my first snowfall
I shall treat it with the admiration and respect it deserves
my initiation into this tribe of wind-swept, wild and wonderful women
who roam the earth
healing and feeling and redeeming
But despite all this
it is not even about the silver hair
or the wrinkles
or the eyes
it is about their purpose
my purpose
to age in grace and love;
despite, and in some cases in spite, of
the cruel circumstances that seem so fond of the human race
Would that I had harkened sooner
still, the silver magic calls to me
beckons to me
from beyond the apocalyptic rantings of my youth
the arcane glow is alive and well
many of the old women in your life wield it
some softly and silently, perhaps
but lethally nonetheless
the magic
it is laced in their fingertips
around the corners of their mouths
and in the swell of their hips
you would be wise
to tread carefully
and with reverence

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Alita is 22 and doesn't know who she is yet but it's all good because the rains are here and she's reading a really good book.
Alita Dharmaraj

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