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They dismantled the bed
We laid in, today.
Piece by piece
They took it away.

From the foot
Where I’d stood
And looked at you
That first night
Full of love and promise
The desire in our eyes,

To the headboard
Where we reclined
You dozing off
During a Sunday afternoon movie
And me, pretending
That I had too
Just so that we could rewind.

No more pillows
Wet with tears
No more sheets
Wrinkled with laughter.
They packed it all up
Left us with just shallow, empty fears

Perhaps one day
I’ll chase them away
But for now, I’m left
Without a bed
Or a place
To rest my head.

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You hear the faint thundering
Of a waterfall.
It’s the first hopeful thing
You’ve heard all day.
“If there’s water, then maybe there’s people”,
And hopefully onwards, you make your way.

Getting lost had never been your intention
But mountain trails are tricky
On that, we agree, without contention.
And so as the sun was setting
You found yourself more than a little lost, regretting
That right turn you didn’t take.
Even Frost would tell you
That the road not taken
Was advice for life, not to be mistaken
For navigation.

You make your way towards the sound
But try as…

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I built up my walls
Brick by brick
Every insult, every betrayal
Added another layer
Until the walls were all I could see
And I was safe
Even if it was a bit lonely.

For years, the walls kept people out
Or simply at bay
Long enough for them to decide
That they didn’t want to stay
And with every soul that moved on
I was felt confident that I wasn’t wrong
In keeping the walls up for longer.

Though, as the days turned into years
I realized, that I was setting up the outcomes
Of my own self fulfilling fears.
With that…

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The lights glowed bright
In every colour of the rainbow
The smell of caramel popcorn
Wafted on every breeze that would blow
And over the din of families laughing and children playing
The carnival music played on
As if it were saying,
“Come in, stay for a while, listen to our song”

I was shy at first
Not knowing what to do or say
But then that smile burst
Across your face, and I knew it would be okay
We laughed, as we played
Almost every game
To win the prizes arrayed
Though they all looked the same

Finally, we…

On one of my recent treks in NE India

Panting, sweating, heaving
Muscles aching, head throbbing
Eyesight blurring and your consciousness slipping
But still you carry on.

One foot in front of the other
You tell yourself
Just put one foot in front of the other
And eventually, you’ll get there.

And eventually, you do.
It’s everything you hoped for
And more
So much more.

It’s breathtaking -
Whatever breath you had left anyway.
Beautiful seems an inadequate word
Amazed, an insufficient feeling.

You look out
On the picturesque scene before you
And take it all in
Because you made it.

In that moment
Of sharp, poignant clarity
You realize, you…

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The sirens blared in the background.
Though it hardly mattered.
The streets were empty anyway
What else could you expect, at 2 a.m.

This wasn’t the way
It was supposed to happen, I thought;
As I gripped her hand fiercely.
This wasn’t what I had planned, I thought;
As I felt the helplessness wash over me.

Just then, she squeezed back
Reassuring, as though I was the one struggling
And smiled at me as if to say,
“Everything will be alright,
You’re ready. We’re ready.”
And so, we were.

Fast forward a couple of tense hours
After I had worn a groove
In the waiting room floor.
A nurse walked out and said
“Congratulations! You’re a father.”

I’d never been one for spontaneous tears
But that night was about surprises
So I let the tears flow
As I held you,
The biggest surprise of them all.

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It had been a great day of questing
For sure
There’d been no time for resting
Amidst the fighting, adventuring and more

You defended the kingdom
From an evil mage
And through your courage and wisdom
Their fears did assuage

A celebration feast was commissioned
Much celebration was in store
But, as you were about to be christened
There came a knock at the door

“Are you in there?”
Called a voice
Bringing back all your cares
Before the door was flung open, leaving you little choice
But to despair

“Hiding in the wardrobe again?”,
Your mother chided.
She smiled in vain
As she guided
You; from your domain.

“We weren’t fighting”,
She lied.
But in this, there was no delighting
No matter how hard she tried.
Real life just wasn’t as exciting
As your world, inside.

Graphic by Анна Павлова

The sun has set on another day,
And as I close my eyes in sleep;
Should God come, and take me away
I know my soul would not unduly weep.

For though all earthly sights and sounds
I would be bereft of, eternally.
The memory of your face and laugh
Would suffice for me.

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Death and public speaking
Are supposedly the most feared things
In existence.
Now, I’ll admit
I’ve worried about them too
But they definitely aren’t on top of my list.

Public speaking can be learnt
And honed to perfection.
But, should you fumble
It’s reassuring to know
That you, and everyone in the audience
Will eventually be dead.

Death itself seems peaceful
So then, what is there to fear?
You ask.
Well, as Asimov said,
“It’s the transition that’s troublesome.”

I’m not particularly afraid of death
But the path to getting there?
Oh, that’s quite terrifying.
Disease, Decay and disability?
No thank you.
Perhaps it truly…

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I take another bite.

I no longer feel hungry,
But my hands move on their own
And my mouth doesn’t say no.
Though my brain screams out
For me to stop.
Telling me that I was full, long ago.

I put the food down, for a minute
And walk over to you.
You’re on a call pacing within the limits
Of our small bedroom.
I try to embrace you
But you’re not there.
I attempt to hold you
But grab only air.

And so, I take another bite

I scroll through the suggestions
Selecting one quickly.
Balancing a plate and laptop
Turns out…

Neville Craig Kumar

Writer for beyourself,Poetry in Form. Editor for Cover 2 Cover. Two anthologies I’m a part of— |

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