By a long pull at the wheel
I join the path again
It won’t do — to pretend
to pause, to ask where it is
The one behind knows it is ahead
A jump over the bonnet —
A chance to gain a step
Have a hand caressing my back
I have grown still
Straining away from the touch
of blood to metal
The drip of salt
in the tense ridges
won’t let me go too far
It’s an anchor
it doesn’t set me free
Is it strange to find a nest
in the middle of industry?

The roar, a musical hum,
I may have pulled back.
There is struggle in the constrictions
It is a mere slap
by the metal wrapped in hide
It goes unheeded —
Because I’m still where I was
At the curb, pointed at the rail
I can see the flying bridge
then those flying off it
An arch, a spectacle
of suspension of will
To know what lies ahead
and jump two bonnets
Only to realise we’ve left ours behind
To pause and ask where
it is we can be
without the one who knows it is ahead

Can you imagine the floating arch
the musical suspension
of a moment when all senses are numb
but the one that counts time?

Who am I, I might ask —
The one who lets the head snap back
Or the one who envies the fall?
I’m only the watcher
The engineer of the arch that cannot be
Time has been counted
The music has marched
from my nest
I watch my feet now
on the gravel
on the grass
I watch them as they
turn red
from gripping too hard.
The red —
The blood —
The movement —
All signs of life


Neha Gupta

Neha Gupta

Neha Gupta is a writing student in the School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University. She studied journalism but found no joy in ‘bad news is more newsworthy,’ so she adopted a life of an ELT editor with a publishing house in New Delhi. She strives to present the world more realistically to schoolchildren and when that doesn’t work, she settles for the comfort of omitting an unnecessary comma. She also develops content for Talking Futures and spends the rest of her time sitting on the third draft of her novel.