local_library The golden shackles of a pint of river water

by V S Balakrishnan

Published in Issue No. 288 ~ May, 2021

I am preserved now and that makes me special,

Secured from a gushing river that is in an eternal mad rush.

I have been freed – finally – of my natural instincts

In this glorious bucket, and with that

All my responsibilities to observe and execute.

I am special now and that means endless leisure,

A life of eternal bliss within the protective boundaries

Of my circular castle,

Shielded from the hungry roots of the green grass

That extends all the way to the earth’s core

Plundering its wealth.

No more may I lend space for the growing tadpoles or

Bear any floating Hyacinth for those wading jacanas

That peck voraciously at anything that wiggles.

No wave arises out of my tranquil existence,

Or the wild reed that grows taller than what it actually deserves.

(I even curse the momentary ripples that stain my character

Without actually hating the adamant raindrops

That cause them, an inner joy concealed from public view.)

I am now here as they wanted me to be,

Filling the bucket and never exceeding its boundaries,

Pure as a transparent crystal with nothing to hide

Exposing clearly what I hold within

From the surface to the very bottom,

Virgin, having conceived no living, breathing creature

That is deemed useless to the greater cause of the society

Other than the invisible microbes.

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I am Balakrishnan writing from Tamil Nadu, India. I am 29 years old and have earned my BA in English literature. I write in both English and my mother-tongue Tamil, and have self-published a poetry book in both. My works have appeared in Pif Magazine, Better than Starbucks Magazine, Plants and Poetry Journal, Poets Choice, Castello Duino Poesia, The Wire's Dream Magazine, Coffee People Zine, Unstamatic Magazine, and Dissident Voice. Besides writing, I am also interested in gardening and painting as well.