Shadows at Twilight

by Parth Pandya

A woman struggles with the memories of a man unleashed each time she hears a song of his that she has recorded. What is it that she has to let go? Parth Pandya’s poem tells you more.

The sun strained through the smoke
To take a look at her,
Through the rings she blew;
An art perfected
Over many a dead lung cell
As she rested her restless legs
On the rim of her balcony

Was he dead? Alive? Did it matter?

If he was enjoying the breath of life
He might as well be dead
For what was he but a memory
Of the man she once loved

If he were burnt to ashes
He might as well be alive
The torrid touch of his fingers
Was a phantom memory on her breasts

Above all, beyond him, the song,
That wistful, sinful ballad
Would never leave her

His voice graced her home, her ears, her soul
Her own voice betrayed her
Joining him always as she played again
The CD over her sound system

She knew each bend and curve
Each imperfection in his voice
Each strum in minor G
She could see herself in that sound
Holding a lipstick stained glass of vodka
And a portable audio recorder
Trapping his voice for eternity
Like a shadow tethered to her
Often growing, often withering

She knew not if it was him she had to let go
Or that memory of him in the moment
Lost to the world, lost to her, surrendered to the song
She had let go of his callous hickeys and careful caresses
And of the lack of drama in the way they had drifted

She felt strong nameless hands on her neck
Compensating their anonymity with a massage
“Nice voice. Whose is it?”, the man asked
She waved the smoke away and unleashed the sun
And in a cold, firm voice answered, “Nobody”

Parth Pandya moonlights as a writer even as he spends his day creating software and evenings raising his two sons to be articulate, model citizens who like Tendulkar and Mohammad Rafi. He has been regularly published in forums such as Spark, OneFortyFiction and Every Day Poets. Taking his passion a step further, he wrote his first book ‘r2i dreams’, a tale of Indian immigrants as they work through the quintessential dilemma, ‘for here or to go?’ You can know more about the book at
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