By Dr. Shahid Iqbal
If you are a pregnant door that holds all answers to my questions,
I will unlock your billowing shapes and unzip your lips.
But, a voice in my head warns,
‘You are the mirror image of what you see in others.’
So tell me, what doors of yours have I locked?
I want to feel these locks; do they have keys?
Old keys like the ones we saw in decrepit Shekhawati havelis?
Where men lived, left or died; leaving a pall of untimely endings.
Memories pegged to nails hang, just like they did before.
New locks on the doors seal and divide
the air of a lost land amongst distressed and absent members
who claim kinship to these crumbling structures.
I feel the rusty taste of old iron locks on my tongue
each time we walk past each other, the air between us heavy.
We take care not to cross verbal lines,
not negotiating the spaces between us.
*Havelis ~ old sprawling bungalows
*Shekhawat called the ‘ghost town’ of Rajasthan because the rich , affluent traders left the city for Bombay and never returned. The richly decorated, unattended houses are falling apart; scavengers sell things stolen from such houses as ‘genuine antiques’.
Meenakshi Watts is an artist and a poet. Her book Crystal Clear was published in 2007 with the WRITERS WORKSHOP, CALCUTTA.