Parallel lines outlined in chalk
and in between we march, not
a single toe must slip out, not
a fingernail should poke
the light sneaking in through the holes
across the stringent walls.
We are ants, the mayhem in our minds
closely packed like molecules
with tangled threads,
too strong a force to break the array.
Too weak a resolve to smash with instinct,
the system set forth by the queen-
the work that overwrites our identity.
We are but a tight-knit community
scented with the formic acid of our predecessors
Is the poison we breed vulnerable too –
to failure and rejection?
The leaves outside are green and lustrous,
they hide the spring bloom,
then, why are we afraid
to smudge the boundaries a little
fill in the gray space
and give our successors
a new heirloom?
Payal Phukan is a management student from IIM Calcutta. She is also a Post Graduate in Advertising and Public Relations from Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi. She was born and brought up in Guwahati and loves writing. She perceives poetry as a means to surface the emotions which shy away from her otherwise. Her works have been featured in Scarlet Leaf Review, Peeking Cat Anthology, Spillwords Press, Asian Signature, Advaitam Speaks Literary and elsewhere.