The Woods are Alive

The Woods are Alive

Adritanaya Tiwari

Everyone is asleep,
night falls early out here,
forbidden to go outside past 7,
I settle by the window,
unable to sleep.

This village is called Raa-een,
spelled like Rain but spoken like
what feels like a thing of royalty,
another world, miles from the city.

Stars litter the sky,
and moonlight veils the earth,
the woods are alive,
with the sound of crickets
and the throbbing of my heart.

I wouldn’t dare step out,
but the balcony doesn’t seem like a bad idea,
curiosity killed the cat they say,
but in these mountains,
the cats are killers.

They roam the woods,
dark and wild,
sharp and sleek,
a nightmare of unparalleled beauty,
during the day they live
in stories of savagery,
and drop by the village
as the sun sets,
stealing cattle away for supper
and sometimes, babies too.

Somewhere in the darkness
I can see a red flag
fluttering in the moonlight.

Faint ringing of temple bells with the wind,
our gods lie awake at the heart of the mountain,
a hundred stumbles and sighs away.

A little glow catches my eye,
something moves with the shadows
in the verandah next door.

Two bright orbs stare at me,
out under the moon, again,
four limbs stand.

The crickets have stopped singing
and the wind is laying low.

The woods aren’t alive anymore.

I scream.

Adritanaya Tiwari