There’s a room I keep for you
in the woods near a spring,
a mountain cabin with blued-edged corners,
soft cream-colored walls,
a lilac bush growing by the door.
The door is never locked,
though it has a key.
The key is in your pocket.
In autumn, before the snow sets in,
You build a fire.
You stand outside the door smoking,
or lie on the floor staring
at the cream-colored ceilings with blue corners.
The lilac twists and thickens.
It becomes a wisteria
with soft purple-blue racemes.
It grows around me,
its branches supporting me
All around are fragrances
in many shades of purple-blue.
I laugh and weep with delight,
then snap out of it
and tell the lilac to settle down.
This is your imagination.
It always enters me, too.
I watch you sometimes.
There’s a hillock where I sit.
You walk in the fields
to pick lilies, just one or two.
Beautiful deep-throated ones,
like golden lions
or black-spotted leopards.
You trim their stems.
You place them in this or that crystal vase.
You think I’m a lily, too.
Outside, you lean against the wall,
smoking, eyes distanced.
Watching the fields,
staring at the voids in the woods.
You’re outlined against cream-colored walls.
Blue-edged corners frame you.
You tend the fire.
You lie on your back and stare at the ceiling,
When you leave,
you never lock the door.
– A. Iyengar, for showing me what I should do if I did this, with your precise, sensitive three-line cut.
– Mukesh, for understanding the poem’s essence, which stopped me from editing it out.
– Gopika, for showing me how others read the poem, and that I’m sometimes redundant.
– Ram, for seeing and not deriding the childish side of me. That child came to the edit, and kept words’ freshness alive.
– Mahedra for showing me a stanza break was possible – and indeed needed, to separate the dream from the promise.
– R. Pradhan, for backing up Mahedra’s criticism, and challenging me find to a solution.