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Beyond Death

"behold the candle of the soul"

Published onNov 23, 2022
Beyond Death

~Photo by Katherine Kromberg:

Pain is a seed
which grows with time
and spreads its brown branches
over the bones 
and sheds its leaves
in the rivulets of blood
till it exceeds the body
and becomes a carapace

You can come out of it
Listen to the cadence of heartbeats
that croon a rhyme of revelry
behold the candle of the soul
that burns in you and throws
the petals of flames
to the darkest recesses

There's enough inspiration
beneath the skin 
that has survived
the ruins and rains of time

Gather the obsolete bones
and burn them with the fire

Pour the last trickle of blood 
in the sea that swallows everything

Take the rest of the body
and grind it to dust
with a mortar and pestle

Strip the garb of mortality
which has pain engraved on it

That's it

The soul which can never be soiled
is freed from the bondage

You are purged

You rise from your broken self
like a wisp of smoke

You have to die to live

Debasish Mishra is a Senior Research Fellow at National Institute of Science Education and Research, HBNI, India, who has earlier worked with United Bank of India and Central University of Odisha. He is the recipient of the Bharat Award for Literature in 2019 and the Reuel International Upcoming Poet Prize in 2017. His recent work has appeared in North Dakota Quarterly, Penumbra, The Headlight Review, Amsterdam Quarterly, California Quarterly, and elsewhere. His first book Lost in Obscurity and Other Stories has been recently published by Book Street Publications, India.

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