DP: Turn Back Time – A Question of Moments by Ruswa Fatehpuri

A Question of Moments

by Ruswa Fatehpuri


In a life made up of moments
Of which I was but one
What will you remember
When I am dust and gone?

Will the page on which I met you
The page on which we kissed
Be well thumbed and worn
Or passed over and missed?

Will you ever turn to us
And plot the path we took?
Will you smile or will you weep
Or will you never look?

Will you tell your children
Of all that we forsook?
Or will we be forgotten
And torn out of the book?


In response to the turn back time prompt

My Do Over post is also of some relevance

You can find more of Ruswa Fatehpuri here


The Terror of the Mirror

DP: Mr Sandman – The Terror of the Mirror

Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more!

Macbeth does murder sleep”—the innocent sleep,

Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,

The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,

Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,

Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

Macbeth 2:2

I am a careful chatelaine. Each door is pulled shut and locked before another opened. I step lightly from moment to moment, each diligently separate, never meeting myself on the way in or out. Masks and costumes hung on the hook inside each door.

If I keep you in a room you do not know me.

Sleep is my enemy. She steals the keys and leaves the doors wide open. The scents of separate lives, cheap coffee, starch, stale cigarettes, Baldessarini blend unbalanced.

Tales told in each domain dance a Viennese waltz, eyes searching behind the masks for lies and truths and hints of what the whole might be.

The friend of my enemy is my enemy. Sleep sets all the small parts free. Somewhere in the puzzle there is me. And so I fear to sleep and sleep in fear. Not falling to the welcome clasp of pillows but captured and manhandled by exhaustion, body fallen at odd angles.

For all my great to success to keep them all apart, in sleep the parts of me can coalesce unchecked and untamed until in that dim corridor, lamps turned low in deference to the hour, I see a shadow solidify, blank face accumulate expression, and I beg the sun to rise before the animation can complete.


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Tradesmen’s Crossing

Tradesmen’s Crossing

If you are but an eye aligning scales, and I a weight like coin, then who in truth is God? Should I be awed to know you so capable at trade? A deal done for eternity, and salvation so cheaply purchased.

The sun has burned my shoulders. Photon flail. I found you where the salt of dripping blood and sweat crept beneath the peeling skin.  My wounds. I welcomed them, easy as standing still, unflinching. You offered something other than the grave, and I gave. But the moment of clarity came when my raw flesh cried. A bargain of burn for burn.

Salt proves you capable of humour; a poison to complete each meal.

Your codicil of curses, taunts and ridicule has left me clothed in garbage, waste and humility. I will leave a trail of stench throughout your garden, beneath the laden boughs and grassy banks, but tears and tresses have washed my broken feet. You need not fear, I will not flinch when laughter chimes in harmonies from hanging harps, nor cry when tremens tips my cups across the sward. I do not begrudge the statements of fidelity, the false trails of timidity, the kiss. I forgive them and I forgive you, and the kiss.

This is the moment of transference, for what is done cannot be undone. Long before you raised me up, excruciate, the pit was dug, and light was just a faint reminder of the sun. But as the sweat of toil, the blood of blisters beaded and intertwined my shovel stopped. How was I to know the imperative of bracing walls? they trembled with the threat of falling in. At last you let me learn the art of climbing, fall by aching fall, until back braced on filth I reached upwards and out. Why did you not warn me that the light burns hot as fire?

Is salvation mercy or just a means of keeping busy?

You salved the cuts and placed the pitiless crown upon my head. Fatted calves poured their throat libations: alizarin, carmethene. I was succoured and symbol. Then you hoisted me aloft, hands nailed to heartswood. Everything comes down to price, and I was always too proud to haggle.

You are no God, and I am not your son. You are a merchant, and we have made a trade. Burning, wounds and salt on one side of the scales. I will foul the sweet air of your sanctuary, but tread lightly on the turf.


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DP: Let’s Dance – As the End Draws Near

As the End Draws Near

Ground tablets in over-steeped valerian tea. The ordered spin of stirring decays into a Brownian melee.The bitter flavour, the gritty texture is irrelevant to me now. It settles in my stomach, cooling and weighty. An anchor pinning me to the earth.

I brought my old tape deck for this moment, but I think the batteries are weak. The music drags like the ballerina in a jewellery box as the clockwork winds down.

I’m glad I chose a warm day, scudding clouds and sunshine. It is a day for dancing slowly, and coming to a stop.



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DP: Choice – The Choice that is No Choice

Daily Prompt today is to choose a location to be kidnapped to: desert island, jungle or locked in a building.


The Choice that is No Choice

“It is a simple enough decision. Why hesitate?”

“You’ll forgive me if I don’t quite trust your intentions.”

My captor smiled. At least I assumed he smiled. Something in the shape of the silhouette, which had barely moved throughout our conversation, seemed a bit more smiley.

“I bear you no personal ill will,” he said, “I have just been asked to keep you out of the way for a while. Once things have taken their course we will come and get you and you can go.”

I had already made my decision, it was pretty straightforward. Either to be abandoned on a desert island, or locked in a building, which would trigger my acute claustrophobia; or to be left in a jungle, with my creepy crawly phobia. It was a no brainer. Blessed solitude, time to work on my tan, if they gave me paper and enough pencils I would be happy if they never came back, swimming, catching fish. It would be Survivor and Desert Island Discs rolled into one.

The choice wasn’t about my choice of destination, it was whether I chose to trust someone I could not see, who had had me bundled into a blacked out X5 outside Henrietta’s house, and brought here. Wherever here was.

I remembered the bunta joke and began to laugh. Quietly at first, a little hiccoughing giggle, that gained momentum until I was bubbling over with hysterical snorts. I don’t have a particularly attractive or cool laugh, and once it escapes I can’t haul it back. Now, with the wire tight tension it grabbed me and launched me off the cliff face of clownery.

“You find something amusing in the situation?”

It took a while to get my breath under control. “You just reminded me of a joke about choices, and under the circumstances I found it funnier than it really is.”

“Tell me.”

“It’s really not that good.”

“We have a little time until your transportation gets here. Indulge me.”

I shrugged, “You asked for it. There are three explorers deep in Africa, who are captured by a tribe, and tried by the chief for trespassing on his territory. They were found guilty, and the chief offered them a choice: death, or a punishment he called bunta.”

There was no sign from the silhouette to suggest he had heard the joke before, so I ploughed on. “Fearing death the first explorer says, “I choose bunta.” The chief smiles cruelly and the man is dragged off into a hut. His friends hear fearful screams for about 20 minutes, and then the guy emerges, naked, limping, haggard, his eyes empty and his cheeks hollow. He grabs the next guy by the hand and says, “Choose death, there is nothing more terrible than bunta”. Then he falls unconscious to the floor.”

Still nothing from the silhouette. “The second guy also fears dying, and also chooses bunta, despite the warning. An lo and behold 20 minutes later he is out as well, naked, limping and broken. “Choose death” he begs his friend, “choose death.” And with that he passes out too.

“Now with two testimonies in hand the third guy is resigned to his fate. “I choose death,” he says. The chief smiles again and says “Good. Death by bunta.”

Nothing. Not a snigger, not a snort, not even a groan. This must be how a comedian feels when his material falls flat, although it was never really a very good joke. It took a while before he said, “I see. The choice that is no choice. You fear perhaps that there is a building in a jungle on a deserted island?”

I suddenly went cold, and a stinking sweat broke out all over. “Say that last bit again.”

“You fear a building in a jungle on a deserted island.”

“I thought it was a desert island.”

“Not at all, it is just far from any shipping lanes, and there is no human habitation. The island is off the coast of Finland, but too far to swim for shore.”

I should expand on the things I don’t like, enclosed spaces, bugs, and being cold.

“Why are you doing this to me?”

“Because I am being well paid for it. You need to be kept well out of the way until Lady Henrietta is married, and when she is safely away on honeymoon, you can come back.” I definitely heard the smile in the voice this time. “His Lordship thought an object lesson might be in order, so you could reflect on your behaviour. Lady Henrietta has so much to say about you in her diary, and I am always thorough in my research.”

So that was it. My shoulders slumped in resignation. “Tell me about this building.”


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The photo above is one of my own, taken from a seaplane over the Maldives.