Glancing at a clear film of water
Or kneeling like Frost at the curb of a well’s round impediment of water,
Peeping at depths hidden,
I see what all do—
Me, or perhaps someone resembling me.
When a rainy droplet, without a shadow (they fall down too fast),
First, the future and past appear
To ripple away freely, as if abandoning ship
Isolation tugging at phantom strings,
Playing dolefully a melody that begs to ask—
Do we lose or are we lost to the past?
Haunted by hindsight that places things in the box of shouldn’ts
Or is reflection devoid of tense; it simply is.
Seems our image does what even we cannot.
The hope(ful/less) future ripples to the right,
Blessing or cursing depends on the philosophical view of the glass,
Slow at first, then all at once.
As above, so below— we both turn to follow
Events yet to be
Until the wall of the well, where the drop is vanquished.
(Apparently, the glass is half-empty)
We are identical but I see he knows more than me
Or so it is for zanys without answers.
With anger and quiet desperation
I yield a silent prayer,
“And so I call upon thee, Death,
To lead me thus and deliver me
Unto the gates of Hell,
So that I may cease to be.”
Stopping short— Which of us do I condemn?
Attempting to settle the question of one versus Other.
In a chaos of this Epicurean futility,
(even Epicurus wasn’t Epicurean,
but was his reflection?)
For “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” we must go,
Either by three ells or licking flames.
Another drop distorts my image,
When I feel its path inscribing on my cheek.
Its impermanence a glaring defect of our belief
That what is ours never leaves.
When next you see your reflection, ask if
You see yourself, or what you want to be?
Or someone else entirely?
The photograph is taken from, and unfortunately probably is of, Arnaav Bhavanani’s collection.