Fall, Crush, Drown
by Sumana Roy
The verbs are warnings:
fall, crush, drown; head over heels …
As if to love is to meet an accident,
to return with a limp, injured, or chest full of water.
You ignore these words like you jump signals.
It’s not adventure or rebelliousness,
you just can’t take life second-hand anymore.
A beggar needs to hear the coin fall into his bowl.
It’s a lie, they were wrong –
that’s what you want to shout
when it begins, this love.
For you feel like a boatman
pushing his boat away from the shore –
there’s more water than land on this earth.
Fall, drown, crush …
All three diminish your size,
leave you smaller …
You return to land, your feet shrunk.
You’ll have to learn to walk again,
to alternate one foot with the other,
to mind your steps,
not put the right foot thrice in succession …
You’ll have to learn to believe
that it was love.
About the Author
Sumana Roy is the author of How I Became a Tree, a work of nonfiction, Missing: A Novel, My Mother’s Lover and Other Stories, and two poetry collections, Out of Syllabus and V. I. P: Very Important Plant. She is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Ashoka University.
Gustav Klimt, On Lake Attersee, 1900 (detail)