Isn’t it strange how things unravel anticlockwise in the
night, as if thoughts, blindfolded, spiral homeward into

the past? In the morning, even in the half-glow of dawn,
you can float away from yourself, changing their direction,

the end of the trembling dark clutched tight in your hand,
deliberately unwinding pain through a labyrinth of forced

possibilities. Time, then, is just a cruel trick of the light.
Or maybe, love is. I remember lying on our backs on the

sand, the sky close, beginning at the end of our skin,
stars finding the hollows under our nails, clouds moving

in dextral whorls around a proximate moon. Or maybe we
were just looking at it wrong. Maybe it was day. Maybe it

was us whirling and there was one nebulous cloud in the
centre blurring the sun. Maybe we weren’t next to each

other, a deception of trajectory and distance and touch,
the twisted path a long way to reach an inevitable end.



Image by Anthony Jon Tyson (Picture prompt provided by Visual Verse)
First published on Visual Verse (Vol 05, Chapter 10)

Become Poet

Take a random set of incongruities- a cubist summer sky and
the formless dark of loss, the self-assured trajectory of a tear

and the shifting angle of an eagle’s wing, the mellifluous arch of
a dervish’s foot and the serrated bewilderment of lightning or

just love that shouldn’t have been touched, like wet paint, and
the stubborn heartbeat of a train pulling away- take an accidental

bundle of seeming contradictions and sow them in neat little rows
and wait, leave the water to boil for tea and find a distant star to

watch, become shaman, become alchemist, become poet – stories
drop their veils to the rhythm of their fingers, the truth is often

just an imagined point of serendipitous convergence when two
discordant notes hold hands for a transient crescendo. I found

out today, it was alright to wake up, I have given emptiness a
name, its toothbrush is bright blue, in the mirror, next to mine.

Without Really Touching

It’s the way eyes adjust to the dark, slowly the
shapes emerge, you discern without really

seeing, the way your body adapts to sleep and
the dreams appear, you soar without really flying,

the way your senses sharpen in the wilderness,
the fear rises, you can tell there’s danger without

really knowing- the dark falls quiet and my ears
accommodate the silence, softly the voices begin,

yours and mine, saying the same things, words
that sound the same, mean the same, hurt the

same, we hear without really listening- the way
time bends across barren wasteland, days pass

without really touching, the way alone corrects
for loneliness, yearning without really loving.


a sigh
a shrug
a half turn of the head-
each one a complete sentence,
the silence falling neatly
between the lines,
the angle of the unspoken to
the illusion of hope-
like her finger tracing an
invisible flower
on an unseen table,
what grows from the remains
of broken promises?


A Crow That Became A Line

It’s supposed to be a book, a story, but I wish I could start with
a poem instead, there’s something about leaving things half

said, something about a handful of metaphors and line breaks,
that wear their brevity proudly, there aren’t that many words

in the beginning anyway, just an uncertain awkwardness that
stumbles over ellipses, saying little, saying a little. A verse about

a day that wasn’t supposed to be, but was, about a time that
wasn’t meant to mean anything, but did, about the big things

unremembered, about tiny details that stay in the empty frame
like disconnected dots. There was a crow outside the window that

day, watching, as birds aren’t expected to, but do, like a sadness,
an inadvertent new moon, a crow that became a line in the sky,

in the beginning anyway when there were no words. With a poem, I
can stop here. You never speak. The poem becomes the whole story.


Toril Fisher Fine Art


For the ekphrastic prompt at Real Toads. Also for Poets United Pantry.

Somewhere Between

Somewhere between Pahalgam and Baisaran,
well over 7200 feet, the pony stopping to drink
from a leaking water pipe, the snow caps tightening
their stranglehold on potential thought, the city
fades away in the rhythm of the connectivity bars
on my phone, I feel a loss, a  distancing, a new umbilical
cord being severed- myth and history are rich with
stories of men who came to such mountains, to
such forests, to meditate, to find neat answers
to ponderous questions, as if it needs turning away
from the world, as if it needs seclusion, as if it needs this
quiet in which even leaves and snowflakes pause
before they fall, like taking off their shoes before
entering a temple, like an inexplicable prostration,
as if effects are buried so far away from
their cause, as if sound in itself is an aberration-
I am tentative, introducing a memory reluctantly into
this alien perfection, testing its skin, its taste, it’s give,
an unfamiliar shade of blue in the unflawed light,
a sharp pain fills the silence like an old friend,
its arm around my shoulder, the city falls like an
existential shadow cast by a new sun, somewhere between
Pahalgam and Baisaran, where every morning someone
scrubs the sky clean, where the trees like cellphone bars
connect someone to something, where the birds take care
to whisper till you pass, where everything is a little too near
but a little too far away.  There. Somewhere between.