As I Slide

by Meena
The Waters
Third Place, June 2022
Judged by R.T. Castleberry

The punctuality, the discipline,
the dress code I am noted for
have abandoned me in a quick
as I walk like a recluse governed
neither by time nor by appearance,
a trace of hippyism.

My gray hair flying in all directions
as I at least try to colour it.
Excess starch in my saree
makes me look roundish
converting me shorter than
I am in real life.

A slightly imbalanced walk,
a drag and a pull, has grown
significantly prominent
as I negotiate climbing
up and down the stairs
leaving me graceless.

I prefer to be at home
watching programs
on YouTube, serials
which promise nothing
except some light thinking,
a recent habit.

Life hitherto would go likewise
I assume. Bidding adieu
to serious thoughts
and sensible living style
I gradually slip into a noncohesive
status which forebodes the end.
That of living,

The randomness of Covid’s attack has preyed on people’s sense of mortality, affecting every manner of personal routine. As I Slide underlines these stresses, as the opening lines set us up: “The punctuality, the discipline/The dress code I am noted for/have abandoned me…In a later verse, the writer references “A slightly imbalanced walk/a drag and pull…leaving me graceless.” Illness and isolation eventually leaves them in deepest resignation, “I gradually slip into a noncohesive/status which forebodes the end.” It’s a powerful but starkly unsettling work. --R.T. Castleberry