You have access in my bone and existential structure.[…] Which means you are inside of me in a way no one is or shall ever be. Don’t ask me how I know that. My senses belong passionately to you; you are in me as the relaxing shower drops touch gently my skin; you are in me as the sea waves echo when they crush the beach rocks. You are in me when I lie – as I do now- in bed, paralyzed by the sluggish, dull rhythm of life. You are the air in me delightfully nourishing my small brain, so crammed with unusual perplexities.You are in me like a stillborn pain refusing to be washed off. You are in me like the sun’s spots of quivering light merged with whirling blood and flesh. You are in me in these supposed to be “poetical” corny lines. And I know it will never be enough. I live with knowing that in a way which is not profound anymore; In a cruel, real, remorseless way of no return. How pathetic – I live with solely that.

-Frida Kahlo, “You are me”

and the river went her way

Fireflies had their hearts torn out. Carcasses lay bobbing on crescendos. We had a pockmarked sky. We had stars that had burnt out.

My hands were seaweeds.

Sometimes when the rain falls hesitant on my vertebrae, I stuff my screams in time and knit nostalgia. From the walls of my arteries, all those old songs you sung to me late night recall themselves with their meanings misplaced. Music drips like wax on the roots of my hair. Our silence smolders the limitlessness between us.

I wait for him to reclaim my soul.

Quietly the darkness rises. Quietly I float in the depths of Lethe.

It was a night of storms when he took back his promise and left.

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7 days later I quit my job

the last time i had written a poem i was a whore, fucking every random verse, my skin layered with the grimness of flaws. now in a shiny blue box (with a lid) i am slowly oozing ectoplasm.

“i will vanish,” i promise what remains of me.

there goes my toes, my legs, my fingers. there goes my arms. there goes my chest, my half-bitten face. the blue butterflies are gone. my best friend doesn’t take my calls.

“did you see my heart? the left auricle, did you see it?”

i run bare feet on floors of marble. i run clutching my chest, my id sets off alarms all across town. “i am on fire,” i scream and no one gives a damn. professionalism is all about being someone you can hate without guilt. i plant myself before a computer, its jaws agape with newness, and glare back into its stifling glare. no, this is not about writing codes. or challenging history. or disseminating. or introspecting. or anything you think it is.

this is about waiting till you explode.

the air-con whizzes above ceilings that crush. everything is shiny and glass and false. i forget the last time i tasted fresh. i forget the taste of rain. barred windows kick sunlight back to the hills. my eyes sink lower in their sockets till all i see is continuity. all day i watch the atmosphere drumming on their flat faces. tired it bursts into paranoia. and i cannot breath.

“can you lend me oxygen?” i ask the girl in the next chair.

“that is forbidden! don’t utter that word here!”

i panic, flap my arms around desperate to fly. suddenly i am crippled. claustrophobic. i am walking the edge of parapets ten stories high. the walls swoop down. “an invite,” i smile. in a city of trams, my parents celebrate their daughter’s job with expensive joy.

999 km away, secretly i google sleeping pills. anything to help me die. then return to the parapet in the middle of the night.

“i am glad i don’t have wings.”

roads twist into pretzels. the lights are lost. i run in loops. i run again. i run till my mouth drips naphthalene blood. it rains ash on the hills next door.


35 degrees half
-way you


sunset is fractured

i spin and the air is lemonade

so i pick up stratosphere cubes, freeze
them next door

then feed time to hungry dogs at ten

35 degrees more i
swim inside

lick your berry-heart

you talk biology i gasp oxygen


too hungry after feeding the dogs at ten.

©Mohana Das

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from the corner of my eye

flat is one of my much loved words. flat plains of the Ganga. flat boron-breasted skies. flat screen TVs. then there is the flat i hate. the one that reminds me of frozen claustrophobia, stacked into ugly cubes.

i also love caldera.

and amanuensis.

my best friend speaks in a tongue no one else does. (i feed him random lists on rainy noons.) his words tickle my backbone. he says i must laugh more often. “i have bombs in place of alveoli. shut up and pick me a flower.”

he plucks me an ode. i wear it in my purple hair, behind my ear.

“get more piercings,” he says. on most days i hate him.

on others, i teach him to spell c-a-l-d-e-r-a. afterwards we swim, infinity swirling wet around our ankles. fish-like. almost fish-like. these are the days when the skies are flat, boron-breasted. he sings me patchwork songs underwater and the jealous sky strums her flat sternum into oblong waves.

but sometimes i love him too.

pomegranates burst, expelling sticky redness on the secrecy of quiet lanes. i tell him how much i’d love to visit Anatolia. the withheld boredom in his eyes shifts, perches on the hollow of my neck.

immediately, i quaver.

he smiles.

somewhere over his shoulder, a tiny star catches fire.

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