in a heartbeat

the last word i tried teaching him was deconstructed on my tongue. my larynx fumbles as i watch his primrose mouth spill language i lesson-ed:

“let me. please.”

the first time he kissed me i thought i would volatilise. daylight suddenly velvet, pin pricks of nacre assailed my sight. the concrete, magma underneath my feet, i wanted to ask him to help me breathe. hours bent in between us, the space folding itself into particle. then dust. my breasts were proud magnolias.

his heartbeats thunder across the boron-breasted sky. i laugh and the bombs in my alveoli do not explode. today, it is him teaching me to spell h-o-m-e.

i watch myself blooming in the aftermath as Anatolia chisels the way to her on my palms.

“get more piercings,” i reminisce. his scent sheathes me like a favorite song. i have tasted his smile, his butterfly frivolity. i have tasted the ache turning gangrenous in his heart, i have tasted his fidelity. the amber of his silence pools in the hollow of my neck.

breathless, i tattoo his ode on my flesh, gravitate towards light. the sinking something at the bottom of my chest has dehisced. on most days i hate love him.

our tiny star shuts her eyes as i moan. everything is on fire.

©Mohana Das

This is the third of a series of poems. Read the other two here:

Part I: from the corner of my eye
Part II: on this side of the phone

Bird's eye view of Gangtok

A December Weekend in Gangtok

The capital of this erstwhile Himalayan kingdom is spic, span, spotless & impeccably stylish! As we sit sipping a cup of Temi organic tea on MG Marg with the December cold trumpeting welcome notes upon our face, we cannot help but wonder how these rose-cheeked women negotiate the uneven gradient on such high heels! Dresses teamed with fishnets, knee-high boots worn over skinny jeans, quilted jackets, pullovers and trench coats in the cutest of pastels, bright lips, quirky piercings and an occasional pop of neon blue and fuchsia rule the roost. Women in traditional Bhutanese Kira with a fitted blazer and printed scarf thrown in look impossibly poised. The men aren’t far behind in this fashion race either – gelled mohawks, ear studs, biker jackets, plaid blazers, converse, high boots all come together to give you the complex of being the most ill-dressed person in the entire town. Schoolgirls in crisp white shirts and pleated blue skirts with blue stockings descend in small bunches, giggling and gossiping. As the hours darken, orange Chinese lamps light up the glass facades of the many boutiques and restaurants that line the stretch, shops with aisles weighed down by the prettiest winter collection open their doors, and the air is suddenly rife with an overwhelming crescendo of momos, meat and music.

Continue reading


little heart, will you ever learn to sing?

the twang of metal turned sour on my tongue, i fidget late nights, pulling long strings of bird-blue notes- outside the pond is tumescent.

if i write you a letter, will you write me one?

tell me a lie but tell me you will. years condense on my window like rain. along the rim, there is the fire of bougainvillea in spring. then there is summer when afternoons robed like brides jump at me from the shadows. startled, i sink in amniotic hope.

i heal.

i break.

tell me your favorite poem. tell me why it breaks your heart.

©Mohana Das

#together after a long long time

March 1, 2015: The most memorable day in a long long time. #together

Aranya, one of my best friends was home after years. And that was reason enough to celebrate.

I’ve had few, very few friends always. So after school ended, I was suddenly left all alone in the heart of an empty cornfield. Evening seemed to close in rapidly and I was frightened. Every night after returning home from college, I rang up Barsha, Ankita & Aranya and after they had reassured me and my nerves felt less taut, tiredness would overtake and I plunged into cold sleep. It wasn’t that I didn’t make new friends but my new friends were, well, new and between us were miles and miles of unexplored stretches.

I missed school. Continue reading


Winter is half-way across the sea. There are butterflies on every bough. Each day, they unfold another water-colored wing. Crap. Those are leaves and this is pretentious spring.

The scent of hope between our lips. I want to ask if this was your idea of fun. I stay shut. Ask me why when fraternizing exhausts you. Days blow like cotton candy. This diaspora of virtues. I could shoot you point blank. Tell me you care.

Stain my mouth with yet another sulphur-lie. Teach me shades of pink.

But first, come here. Spell singularity.

Because if this that we drew is a map, then you darling, are an insincere home and I am just another name in your book of names. Nothing less.

Nothing more.

©Mohana Das


The rivers have forgotten their way home. There is rain.

Do you ever wonder why I never ask you to spell out my name? I like the way it tastes in your mouth. The sweet of salt estuary. The salt of sweet moonmilk. Mud creeks squelch in delirium.

Let me craft you a boat.

This is mirage and wetland. Deep green puppets slither behind shadows, their voices raspy with isolation. I know you hate crocodiles. I hate them too. And I hate how you outline your trees and horizons with your egg-headed crayon. You must always let your paints bleed, percolate down to the underbelly of the paper. Tell me now, must I draw you a map back home?

The mangroves awkwardly stick their roots out to breathe. Tides swell higher. You turn the map around, pretend to read coordinates, and crash in into my homeless arms, pockets full of infected affection, talking of death and drowning and prettiness.

And before I know, the river has erupted in a blaze. The stillness is metal.

©Mohana Das


On a side note, Sundarban is one of the earth’s endangered ecological gems. Famous for Royal Bengal tigers, this beguiling maze of mangroves is dissected by raging rivers and demure creeks. Visit it before climate changes wipe it off the face of our planet. To know more, read The Land of Man-Eating Tigers: Why you MUST visit Sundarban.

Once upon a time, there was Candy and Dan. Things were very hot that year. All the wax was melting in the trees. He would climb balconies, climb everywhere, do anything for her, oh Danny boy. Thousands of birds, the tiniest birds, adorned her hair. Everything was gold. One night the bed caught fire. He was handsome and a very good criminal. We lived on sunlight and chocolate bars. It was the afternoon of extravagant delight. Danny the daredevil. Candy went missing. The days last rays of sunshine cruise like sharks. I want to try it your way this time. You came into my life really fast and I liked it. We squelched in the mud of our joy. I was wet-thighed with surrender. Then there was a gap in things and the whole earth tilted. This is the business. This, is what we’re after. With you inside me comes the hatch of death. And perhaps I’ll simply never sleep again. The monster in the pool. We are a proper family now with cats and chickens and runner beans. Everywhere I looked. And sometimes I hate you. Friday — I didn’t mean that, mother of the blueness. Angel of the storm. Remember me in my opaqueness. You pointed at the sky, that one called Sirius or dog star, but on here on earth. Fly away sun. Ha ha fucking ha you are so funny Dan. A vase of flowers by the bed. My bare blue knees at dawn. These ruffled sheets and you are gone and I am going to. I broke your head on the back of the bed but the baby he died in the morning. I gave him a name. His name was Thomas. Poor little god. His heart pounds like a voodoo drum.

― Luke Davies, Candy