“Not the Exception” by Rohan Chhetri

Rohan Chhetri


The man who survived a derailed train,
His compartment lunged into the basement
Garage of a housing complex, did not think
Of death. Death does not come as a thought
Preceding itself. The texture of death is felt
Only in the affectations that surround it.
The man tells his story of survival on television
Because feeling fortunate, he is already
Far away from the real thing. Me quarantined
In my room with blisters all over my body.
And a gentle waft of incense smoke, my grandmother
Fills the room with, to invoke the seven goddesses
Out of me. Feeling the seven sores on the insides
Of my mouth when I swallow my soup. Death is abrupt.
The soul still dreams of dying even after the death
Because the body teaches it so. We think death is
Aberration. Thousand automobiles out to run you
Down every morning. The precision of the machinery
Outside us. The survival of the everyday is a constant
Accident from which we will recover in death.

from Rattle #37, Summer 2012


Rohan Chhetri: “To logically begin to reason aspects of death and more so to write a poem about death is hardly easy. It requires the ingenuity of executing a love poem. Knowing exactly how it is going to be read. And like all love poems it demands a fierce authenticity. Maybe Lazarus could’ve written a truly great death poem. I wrote this poem during a period of extreme illness. I was bedridden and isolated physically, and religiously as per my Hindu religious customs. Although I did not mind the imposed isolation so much, it was definitely one of the closest things I could get to feel and experience about death and dying and the unfathomable ‘after.’” (web)

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