When you leave, take with you the way light shimmered
gold in the river,
how the weight of what you loved swirled into filigreed
gold in the river.
That was how it felt to me, as the eventide of the
when I first crossed into illumination at the
threshold of the river.
There were mapmakers before me: their footfalls fade
tender on the earth.
Like you, they brought palms of amaryllis, asked to be
consoled by the river.
There's a pond in the forest whose water only ripples
where you weep.
But here, all ruptures. Let your heart flood,
uncontrolled, into the river.
Listen: the saga unbraids. Loyalties shift, fish-dappled
in her surge.
You can no more submerge a story than you can
hold a river.
Carry all you can into the world, a tributary. But
pilgrim, linger a little.
Sit a while beside me. There are renderings still
untold in the river.
* This poem is from Sharanya Manivannan's second collection, The Altar of the Only World (HarperCollins India, 2017).
Sharanya Manivannan is the author of five books of fiction, poetry and children's literature, including the novel The Queen of Jasmine Country, which was longlisted for the 2019 JCB Prize, longlisted for the Mathrubumi of the Year Award 2020, shortlisted for The Hindu Prize 2019, and the short story collection The High Priestess Never Marries, which won the 2015-2016 South Asia Laadli Media and Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity (Best Book – Fiction).
Watch Your Head is an online anthology of creative works devoted to the climate crisis and climate justice.
Sign up for our Newsletter