The Banishment

Shounak Reza

The Banishment - Illustration for Shounak

Beneath the sky that smells of death,
it is only the river that rattles me,
now giggling like some forgotten angels,
now howling like abandoned animals,
rocking to and fro, rocking to and fro.

I float down the river under the starless sky,
breathing in the death, the rot, the clot,
smiling a smile as wide as the river.
Over me the sky is a lid of poison, it encircles me
and I smile and smile. I am a corpse that breathes.

This place lacks life. Even the death reigning here
isn’t perfect. It is incomplete. Like me.
Like my prehistoric ancestors.
I can drink the entire river tonight
and still stay empty. The river is made of nothing.

Banished here for daring to live,
I have rowed for days and shaken hands with death,
I have danced with the remnants of life. Bits of me evaporate.
Bits of me stay. I am a corpse with a face.
I am a corpse not yet dead.

I do not make a sound. It is only the river that screams
and nobody hears it. Miles and miles away,
they have all walked away from life,
warded death off, banished the likes of me,
afraid of the poems we weave.

Banished, I float down the river,
reeking of death under the silent sky,
refusing to live, unable to die.