Fresh Tulips in Vase

After the guests were gone –
past thumbprints on used wine glasses-
fresh-cut tulips in a vase,
held the lemon sun, like water
inside a cupped palm.

How time moves, why religion fails,
how hate hangs in corners and ledges;
what cuts us down to the bone, instincts
we claim and deny, the tulips seemed to know.
They live outside the shrapnel of time.

We barely spoke during winter.
The first wrinkles showed around the edges
of the upper lip, then in the hollow of throat,
then in the back of neck, then under eye caps.
Wrinkles like moon water seeping under shine.

Once-radiant, now lucid
like butterflies pinned to the popcorn
wall around the terracotta vase – winter light
shot upward, before falling off the ceiling joist;
as though it were tired of associations.

Sabyasachi Nag (Sachi) is the author of two books of poetry: Bloodlines (Writers Workshop, 2006) and Could You Please, Please Stop Singing (Mosaic Press, 2015). His third poetry collection, Uncharted (Mansfield Press), is forthcoming in Spring 2020. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming in several anthologies and publications including Canadian Literature, Contemporary Verse 2, Grain, Perihelion, The Antigonish Review, The Dalhousie Review, The Maynard and Vallum, among others. He is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University and Humber School for Writers. Born in Calcutta, Sachi lives in Mississauga.

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