Mourning - 3rd prize

-Manish Srivastava

How do you Mourn the Loss of a Friend?

What do you do when you suddenly realize That your most trusted co-traveller
Will never show up again? You were not related by blood
There was no kinship obligation as such Yet a part of your heart knows
A portal of happiness has forever closed

They were like that favourite tea shop
Where you found warmth in your lonely moments The stuff that’s often unspeakable with family
Was processed in this sacred space with your friend Now you sit there alone
Regretting the time you kept them waiting Or left too early, leaving them hurt
They can’t even come back to settle the score And you are left with a half woven dream And an unfinished argument
How do you mourn such a loss?
The happy corner of your favourite tea stall

It’s not like losing a hand or a leg They were often just a humble mirror
Where you could shamelessly claim “I nailed it!”
Or humbly confess “I am screwed.”
Now that mirror is gone And you stand alone Staring at the empty wall
With a rusty nail and faded paint mark
How do you mourn such a loss?
The honest trial room in a busy mall

You fought many wars shoulder to shoulder They had your back when you took charge They were the base of the cups you won

And ribbons of the medals you earned You probably did the same for them Now you stand alone
In an oversized spotlight
Wondering how to perform a duet All by yourself
How do you mourn such a loss?
A duo that braved through many wars

I truly don’t know how to mourn the loss of a friend Or if I should even do that?
No last rites teach you how to honour the sacred moments
That can no longer be co-created
A part has crossed to the other realm But the other still lives within me How can I declare it dead?
And how selfish would that be
To assume that my friend does not have a parallel journey
For she would also visit
Those tea stalls, empty walls and war fields They are the portals to our friendship
I will go there as often as we usually did Till one day, the portal itself dissolves in me
And who knows
A new soul shows up
As broken, battered or lost as I was
Maybe now it’s my turn
To be a friend like the one I just loss


* This poem is dedicated to my dear friend who I lost amidst pandemic on 20th July 2021.


6 Responses

  1. So beautifully written. It tugs at our heartstrings and stings the eyes. My condolences are with you, dear friend

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