The Visitor

I remember when you first came calling,

I staved off our little game.

Not in good form, I bet you thought.

You will remember that I hid inside an eggshell. Then in a tea-cup. Then in a tiny replica of a ginger-bread house.

Hoping that to be oblivious was the same as invisible.

You indulged me, and picked another play-mate.

He went with you gladly, white hair gleaming, with eyes not quite muddy-not quite grey.

It had been a few years since, then

We had some chance encounters. You and I. A bus conductor, a young man just married, a famous poet laureate.

Me, as yet an unwilling chess player, you patient, forbearing, eternal.

Was I aware that you were as inevitable as taxes?

Your shadow in the valley of my soul, stealing forth.

I wasn’t afraid. I wrestled you. I fought.

Mildew spread here and there, with his friend shadow.

You sent fear in to conquer what was left.

A heart, left fallow.

I found better places to hide. Sun-flower fields, the tops of a Krishnachuda.

A small tried up petal, a tear and snot soaked handkerchief.

My legs shook with the effort of finding corners in little sandalwood-boxes, leather sachets, and make up bottles.

You showed no sign of tiring.

Today, you are my friend. Having hidden enough I come out to greet you.

I have stale biscuits and some tea.

The corners of the cup are chipped. The ceiling fan creaks.

You don’t mind I am sure…

It will be a very small game of chess.


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