Pramila Venkateswaran

"even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again..."
--Aung San Suu Kyi, Freedom from Fear

Our candles flicker in December wind, shaping letters
to you in your mountain cell, and to others crouching
in cold lit by imagined day, waiting to hold a familiar hand;
we, too, touch emptiness, tall and wide as a stone's inside.

Cupping palms over evasive flame, we walk to the quad,
sheltered from a world reflected in absurd mirrors,
where up is down and wrong is right, where vision is clouded,
ears wax, and memory sheds its skin
quicker than the plop of a stone dropped in a drying well.

We write in flame to aging lives fighting for dreams
wild as this light threatened by winter gusts,
while you summon day in your night,
strum scales, count calluses, mementos of grim growth,
anything to remember, before silence closes our page.