my fingers are stained with tannin- “leave the windows open, will you?”- i can weigh the listlessness humming in the air, that scent of paraplegia- “what’s your name again?” the fork slides down the sponge, a burst of cherry bleeds through the chocolate; the saucer stares heedless through the teak, the brick. your hand on my trembling knees.

a spoon clatters. the scarcity of rain pounds against the sole of your mojris. the tea is ripe. if the floor upends, we will be two pendant lights- you brighter, ofcourse- and the bookshelves will open their tongueless mouths and gobble us whole. “what do they call this place now?” from the window, a foreign summer wafts in.

in a parallel world, i am writing you a drawing of the city that died. the cotton interweaves, my fingertips pucker; your eyes are shards of amethyst. “little blue bird has a magic bead,” i see your lips form words. you empty your pockets of stories as i sit, milky-eyed, licking a cantankerous sun.

©Mohana Das

do you ever think of her when we’re close?//this is why i don’t

because she can’t smell of you. she can’t
tremble the way you do. or explode at my touch.
she can’t hold me this way. see-
like i am a piece of glass. a piece of the moon.
like i am precious. like i could break.

she wouldn’t whisper to me nightlong,
long after i’m done listening. long after
the stars have made love to fireflies.
she can never curl into a poem, or
fall asleep inside my ears like a lullaby.

if it weren’t you, i could never wake up to mornings with
a letter, a poem, a fragment-song inked next to my navel,
or on my thigh. down my spine, sometimes on the inside of
my wrist. sometimes right across my heart,
in dangerous slants, “i love you.” and

she can never kiss me like you do. as if
your tiny mouth is a volcano exhaling life.
she doesn’t smile like dawn. or meteorites crashing
where they belong. no other lips can etch symphonies.
no other fingers can sketch storms.

darling, you look at me like i’m magic.

©Mohana Das

the night i heard he was leaving

past 11, “i hate family weddings”,
i want to shout. irritated, i daub cotton on
stubborn mascara eyes-
“…a job in the north. L.
he will be leaving” a découpage of murmurs-

hair untoweled, i rush outside
“what’s his name again?” dad asks,
“L,” and suddenly the sky comes crashing black
“you sure, Mr. X, it’s him leaving?” the words choke-
“guy in the green ‘ouse? him? you talkin’ ’bout him?”
“why yes!”

my mouth is so dry i can
almost taste blood and
his reply stings the super moon.

and her amber is lost.

i hold my head in my hands.
to stem the spinning.
retch. suck in parcels of no-oxygen.
the streets fall bare.
i can’t cry.

past midnight
past morning
i sway in a rhythm, sleep hanged,
spent on pills, afraid-
if i let go of my knees,
if i even move the tiniest fraction of an inch

i might physically break.

©Mohana Das