My soul sits at the edge of Arlington and Washington DC

A Poem by Anita Nahal

Graphite pencil art by Anthony Gartmond New Jersey, USA

Quietly awaiting my return. Arms crossed, kinda slouched, in grass blades drenched to their core, at the corner of where Arlington and DC shake hands. Puddles around me…tiny pools of hope glistening and swaying, grooving with drops that fall incessantly. Not the stormy kind. Enough to wet me, though leaving me thirsty. Cities are strange creatures. Souls of millions smacked upon each other like cardboard boxes in windowless gowdans without anything to color. That’s why, maybe, perhaps, colors of big cities can be grey, gloomy, and depressing at times, like shades of gloom at funerals. Yet, sometimes, cities when wet are like butter I love spreading on a slice of untoasted bread, sprinkled with sugar granules. Or like caramel evenings in my pointed pumps, I hasten out. Petrichor that comes from ground admixed with cloud spray uplifts me. I see outlines of bodies rejoicing, dripping clothes palpitating, enticing, despite their clinginess. New Delhi monsoon rains also join me as I walk through Arlington and DC rain. Just the petrichor and the olfactory are not buddies here. That’s why I love synesthesia. Dali’s pliable clocks seemed to be sneaking, a bit misty. Many umbrellas had pitched tents around my soul. Some had my parent’s faces on them. Some of friends. Some of school mates with whom I blurted puzzlements of adolescence. Some of my son with whom I drove in and around Arlington streets. Building new lives. I will always love you by Whitney was humming itself to warm bittersweet Thanksgiving kinda rum-spice-apple-cider memories I take along in a mason glass jar filled with tiny lights, iridescent like fireflies waiting for my soul. At the edge of Arlington and Washington DC, its face full of salt from tears. The clocks in Dali’s painting clicking loud and clear.

*Gowdan: A Hindi word denoting a warehouse

Anita Nahal is an Indian American poet, flash fictionist, children’s writer, columnist, and professor. Anita has three books of poetry, one of flash fictions, four for children and three edited anthologies to her credit. Her third book of poetry, What’s wrong with us Kali women, was released by Kelsay Books in August 2021. Anita teaches at the University of the District of Columbia, Washington DC. Two of Anita’s books are prescribed in a course on multiculturalism and immigration at the University of the Utrecht, The Netherlands. More on her at:

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