By Jahnavi Gogoi

Sometimes a woman leaves
She gets up and walks, a wailing child in tow

Or perhaps a ginger cat, a Maine coon, or a Bengal
It could be a parrot or a hamster for all you know

From porches and cars, sliding down a drainpipe
Through the fire exit and Emergency doors
From office windows, slipping on socks on hardwood floors

Vinyl, laminate, ghastly cork, tiles with grout, brown ugly parquet in New York apartments
A matchbox flat in Mumbai
Ghazals competing with pressure cooker whistles, or lawnmowers, the music of suburbia

In Fahrenheit and Celsius, Urdu, Hindi, and English
Québécois French or in the moaning of lovers

The language of leaving remains the same
The language of leaving has no name

She vanishes in a horde, or walks away solo
To the chorus of “Where will you go?”

In utter chaos, quiet, pain swelling into a crescendo,
Or the deafening silence of familiarity

From planning days, meals and making lists, yellowing bruises
And gaping holes in souls

She might jump out of trucks, bulldozers, electric vehicles, hybrids, and off broken bicycles
When screaming into white cotton pillows doesn’t quite cut it, crying in showers is no less exhausting

It becomes rather absurd the whole exercise
To Compromise or eulogize over the woman stopped dead in her tracks
By the fear of the obscure

But better still than drowning in bathtubs is to wander with deliberation
One drugstore lipstick, band aid, Kleenex, small cactus, painkillers, sturdy shoes, and all-weather skin should suffice

She will pack a bit of muscle and a beating heart wrapped in brown paper and string
Not a single word escapes those tight-set lips

In Russian, Persian, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Assamese
In storms, parking lots, on schooners and road trips

In anonymity, and at the top of her game
The language of leaving remains the same
The language of leaving has no name

6 thoughts on “The language of leaving

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