By Hema Gopinathan Sah
Illustration by Samidha Gunjal
The colours are changing.
The silver in my hair stealing a march over the blacks,
The carpet that’s begun to match the drapes.
The youthful ‘tch’ of irritation
My teen makes as I ask him to thread the needle,
Explain the mysteries of Instagram,
Find my glasses.
The eyes that flashed fire.
Mriganayani, the lover said,
I need some distance.
Shifting the focal length
Gives great perspective.
So he retreated,
Into the vanishing point.
The big shift is coming.
As summer draws to a close
A tightening, a drying,
As the womb prepares for
The Long Quiet.
What does a uterus do
When it no longer weeps
For babies that could have been?
It’s snuck up on me,
My eggs running low.
One more baby, I should have liked.
A pregnancy that wasn’t an oops.
Mind you, there are things I won’t miss,
The calendar, the shecup,
The furtive visit to the chemist
For a pregnancy test kit,
The i-pill, the IUD, the OCs, the condom.
And once, Destruction.
It is hard for one woman
To wield so much power responsibly,
that takes three gods, traditionally.
I cannot shrink back into the
Androgyny of pre-pubescence
What then are the climacteric colours of my body?
Is it in the freeing of my speech;
My tongue has sharpened.
My patience for those that judge
Runs a little thin,
Along with my uterine lining.
All else droops slightly,
The daily 5k run notwithstanding.
And there’s softening too.
Not quick to anger anymore,
Quick to forgive,
For we are all fools for love.
And what’s the English word for
Is it the pause between two notes?
That benediction of silence,
The preparation for the last mile,
Crackling autumn’s colours underfoot.
And a burst of second wind,
Before collapsing willingly into Winter’s senescence.