Shounak Reza is an aspiring English major passionate about reading, writing, and history. Writing helps him make sense of the world and his own tangled emotions. He lives in New York City.
The Scented Plumes
In the midst of pain
the agony of existence
the nightmares shrouding us
and the entombment of everything good
our world was known for,
I write a thousand letters to you
that remain unsent, unchecked, unwritten.
Something burns each word I write,
a whiff of fire engulfing each letter,
ruining the ink,
turning them into ashes
that I go on to dedicate to unknown spirits,
spirits who feed on the loss of love,
the heartaches, the pain, the beauty of longing,
the beauty of pain, burnt, releasing plumes of smoke
into the air, ruining the patches of love
on the wall.
And now, now with you over eight thousand miles away,
with you not getting my letters, not writing a word,
not sending words my way, songs my way,
a bagful of memories my way,
I feel my rage turning into a wildfire
that will destroy the forests of memories
that dwell in my heart.
As my letters remain unsent, unchecked, unread,
I use the fire of rage, the fire that appears
each time I write a letter,
to burn fifty different petals,
fifty different scents, fifty different signs of love,
and as they burn, the fragrant smoke from them
rises into the air and I chant spells in the ancient language
my grandmother passed on to me,
the chant of love, the chant of hope.
The pure plumes of smoke leave the chimney,
pass over the barren lands,
over the lands destroyed
by the fires that brought tyrants to their knees,
over the land known for its love
and the land known for its loss of love
and the land known for its lovers
and the land known for the deaths of its lovers.
Nothing can stop the plumes now, nothing,
this scented smoke, ,
turned pure by the chant of love,
transformed by an ancient spell
that reunited lovers in the past
and destroyed tales of fear,
tales of oblivion, tales of nothingness,
this scented smoke will one day reach you,
and the memories, all those memories
of being entombed with me
in a coffin the size of pain,
all those memories will bring to you everything you have forgotten,
everything that was there before the world was destroyed
by the deadly fires.
As the plumes make their way
to the land that you now grace,
I bury the ashes of the fifty petals,
chanting those ancient spells of love,
lying down on the barren land,
under the merciless sky,
in a loveless land, in a loveless world.