In The Depths
by Prasanta Verma
Can we be our own worst enemies?
Do you think I haven’t said all those things to myself? Chastised myself? Assailed myself over my own mistakes?
And also these—not words spoken, but more often, those words not spoken, tongue-tied at the thought of it, because I believed lies about myself and stifled my own voice. Believed myself unworthy. For far too long.
Have I been living in some sort of purgatory? Who doles out these sentences?
Here, I shall name them for you, all of it, the wounds, the aches, the endless.
I can point to each one, name them; the scars visible to all, not hidden. Time completes the healing, after the wounds, the clotting, then sealed up, the signs of battles fought visible to all.
When walking in fields of green—I wondered—does nature taunt me, too? I felt nature taunting me with her beauty, fullness, life, imperturbable joy, insouciant existence, unconcerned for my presence, onlookers, any other creatures.
Those delicate flowers will die soon. Or get trampled upon, or destroyed by wind and rain. And then the snows will descend; a bitter cold.
But they possess life there, in wooded beauty, little living things…only living in glory for One.
And then me, walking along and disturbing the peace, with years of wanting, and thirst drying my tongue.
I was a shadow in the beauty of the place, soaking up light and letting it fill me, borrowing beauty from flowers, so I would not sink in darkness.
I couldn’t fully express what my mind wanted, way back then.
I had a naïve, youthful hope. I had known only what I had known; and limited books, limited knowledge, and confound it—a generational dysfunction that plagued me in all sorts of relationships, all sorts of living…“the gift that keeps on giving.”
But now, yes, I can express it.
It was simply what everyone else wanted. No different. No more, no less, what I was seeking.
When you find out how wrong you were, what you misunderstood, misinterpreted, and realize your own years of dysfunction seeded within that you need yanked out of you, and abuse and lies heaped on you….
Finally, one day, at some point, you wake up.
Oh, God’s grace.
My back snapped with the weight, and I woke up.
No, I said.
Wrong, I said.
You find yourself
waking up to a world of possibility.
You no longer want to be a piece of dirt… but ironically, that is what you are.
A restored, redeemed piece of dirt.
And it’s true, real, balanced.
Dust in human form, that is.
A conduit for something holy, for something more real, more resplendent than anything else you’ve known.
A conduit for love to reach the world, despite broken limbs and inadequate voice.
What you wanted…
no, it wasn’t perfection that I sought.
Relationship. Love. Companionship. Friendship.
To be believed. Wanted. Heard. Loved.
When it knocks your breath out, when you find yourself stunned, silent, when you find out what was a massacred heap of lies, when your words, ideas, and thoughts were discarded like forgotten, torn pieces of cloth, when you felt boiled down to nothing, and upside down became the way you walked for so long, in confusion and swirled in a vortex of lies…
When it turns out.
When it turns.
You go out.
You go within.
You look up.
On sunny days, I still feel the spinning, because it all still exists. Massacres don’t disappear, but live on, a recurring nightmare. Aftershocks discharged from unpredictable swells of cyclonic memories. No one knows the end date of your own nightmares or nightmarish realities. Or another’s tempests and inner storms. Shredded. Insides. Heart. Life. Hope. No weather predictions are accurate. A circle doesn’t end. Continuous storms. Within. Without.
Not fully, not really living, completely, not fully myself. Not living in the full sense of the word.
As one would think. As you, in your lives, may be living. Or not be living.
My eyes, full of visions of faraway suns and moons. My desires, stirred from youthful expectation and anticipation.
I watched them wither, flounder like a fish out of water, writhing and struggling to survive, flapping and gasping on hot concrete.
Regrets. Yes, oh, too many. Let me not recount for you—regrets mostly of what was left unspoken, undone.
What ifs. They cut one open.
Stop surmising, imagining, dreaming.
for the hands of One who plunged me into waters, deep waters, where I thought I would drown, but where depths saved me, as water is what I needed.
for a gleam of hope from years of living, that one silver thread
that kept me from dying.
A golden sunrise was visible
in pains, pains of this life,
to keep my feet from slipping.
Keep two feet planted in the ground. But always looking up, hopeful.
Looking to what? Not to stars and nebulae, which have a death-wish, a finite life.
But looking to a further light, that is beyond the realm of the eye. To a hope beyond any horizon seen with once distraught, cloudy eyes, but now reflecting the light of a Love unseen.
Prasanta Verma is a freelance writer, poet, and artist. Prasanta was born under an Asian sun, raised in the Appalachian foothills in the southern U.S., and now lives in the Midwest. She has been published in Relief Journal, Barren Magazine, Exhale Journal, Silver Birch Press, (in)courage, and Tweetspeak Poetry.