Notes from the Elevator : A poem by Uzma Falak

Photo by Uzma Falak

I am in the elevator. It goes down, then up, and down again.
Time contracts. Nausea.

A river flows inside me
a river cradling corpses.

Taste of mud 
blood and decay unite on my tongue.

I hear the apocalyptic sounds of the elevator, outside.
the savage sounds of the river’s timelessness, inside.

The river cradling the corpses is home. 
The elevator is not.

The river is flowing against time.
The elevator is racing along time.

The river moves horizontally, 
the elevator vertically;

the geometric intersection where they meet is
where my gut is,
where I now feel a throbbing pain,
a laceration.

I rush out to the empty hallway 
where a lamp flickers—
bouts of light and dark.

The river with corpses.
The elevator.

What could be a balm to the eyes which see dead in the sleep 
and dead upon waking up.

What heals the gut which harbours death 
and lives inside death.

What cures the heart, which despite its death,
continues to tick like a clock.

Where does one bury bones which long to be home 
which isn’t.

Such questions must end with full stops not interrogation marks.

The empty elevator invites me again. I comply.
Up. Down. Vertigo. River.

I find my home exactly at the point of intersection-
my gut;

the point where time intersects time.
where a dead has pillowed her head on her own dead arm.

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