The absence of a poem by Resham Sharma

Fernand Toussaint (1873-1956) Portrait
Fernand Toussaint (1873-1956) Portrait

Writer’s block: the absence of a poem

The absence of a poem sticks in the underbelly of your fingers- fingers who don’t recognise each other without the veils of ink, fingers who are nameless outside the pretence of art; the absence of a poem is the absence of a religion, you haven’t forgotten how to mouth a prayer, only you don’t remember whom the mouth belongs to now.

White seas of paper gasp for breath under your hands, but your thumbs waver on the shore as if they don’t recall the feeling of being wet, as if the waters are too sacred for their sins to drown; how do you write the absence of a poem? How do you make the waves sit down at the crown of your feet and die between the toes of your silence? How do you leave a page emptier than it used to be?

A poet is the flesh that stretches from the back of your neck down to your heel, he only exists as long as he is touched- he lives within the span of an itch to a scratch, and that itch is poetry. The absence of a poem, hence, is the skin between your forehead and toes, longing to be desired with the sin of touch. The absence of a poem is barely human.

A body stands buried beneath the ground, made to count days after death by mapping hours of the fragrance of fresh flowers on its grave turning rancid at the door of the moon- not for a moment being able to hold them in its hands or father their stems; the absence of a poem is to live days like a chain of short-lived deaths, not being able to translate your grief into mourning. But there are no funerals for people who go missing and aren’t found, they are replaced with a faceless hope as alive as it is dead. The absence of a poem is the poet gone missing.

Find me before I become the absence of a poem.

Resham Sharma