Anannya Uberoi


Content Warning: Mentions of anxiety.

St. Magdalena
March 27, 2020


"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."
Henry David Thoreau


The hush of the mountain deafens us. The visiting cat leaves through the open shutter-he has places to be. We like to think he is better off in the wild woodlands, where the troubles of the mind subside. There is always the promise of thicker milk from other houses, and better still, the freedom to choose. Outside, rows of homesteads speck the grass-laden pathway with mounts of beige, rose, and white.

Inside, undone dishes rot upon the rocky shelf and washed nightgowns plug the vent with damp, ascending steam. A cupful of warm, condensed milk waits to be tossed into the bowl of beaten coffee. The disquiet in our mind lingers around the ruptured edges of terra-cotta cups and cracks on the timbered table.

Now, we are thinking about home-the dirt, the clutter, the completeness of it. The more we forbear from the crippling anxiety that washed the walls of our room blue- black, the more it chases us to our makeshift camps in hidden parts of the world. We are also revisiting the aftermath of bad decisions, the breaking apart from routine, and the roads to spiritual health that follow. Here and now is a cathartic release-the retreat into the wilds and wastes that connect us to the enterprise of our indomitable spirit.

We will dust the cups until they slip and fall, and form them again on the pottery wheel. We will wake up to the sound of deep listening and quiet awareness until our empathy for the jagged Alps echoes back to us. We will tar the walls in the evenings and paint them raspberry red at dawn until the sickness is scrubbed clean and washed away in the Santo Lake.

The Victorian clock on the wall loses time, trying its last run before it stops-the end of an era. Tomorrow, there will be therapy. There will be more grass to walk on, more bells to ring, more mental blocks to conquer. Today, we open up a bottle of Santi Infinito the kind landlady left us in the kitchenette. Wild cherry, strawberries, and ripe grape linger in our mouths. We can almost sense a more pleasant home warming up the pastures from two blocks away.

Pour yourself a cup. Yes, now.
Hold it to the late-afternoon sky.


Anannya Uberoi is a full-time software engineer and part-time tea connoisseur based in Madrid. She is poetry editor at The Bookends Review, the winner of the 6th Singapore Poetry Contest and a Best of Net nominee. An avid traveller, she has extensively toured the Himalayas of Northern India, Bhutan and Nepal. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Birmingham Arts Journal, The Indianapolis Review, The Bangalore Review, Buddhist Poetry Review, and The Madras Courier., Twitter @AnannyaUberoi.