I wish we could
touch hands, touch faces but
these months apart you are cold to the touch
metallic in taste, you gleam silver
and sometimes speak in code,
vibgyor lines lighting up your face,
bursts of static
the silences that would fill our days.
I can’t hear you
when you say you love me.
There’s a network issue
when I ask if we can speak again.
me from a distance.
The sparks we create
might burn our smiles away.
We dance to the tune of time.
We wait for the other to break.
i was awake when we met
i have fallen deep
i was awake when we met that one time
or was it twice? we talked all night
in a deserted park
or a windy street
or on the phone
or in your car
or in my bed
i drifted off
into endless restless nothingness
you sound so far away when you call my name
or maybe you’re whispering right into my ear
your sleepy breath warming up my cheek
or maybe you’re kissing it
like you did
when we met that one time
when i was awake.
what if we met before the world fell apart?
I’M TRAPPED IN A TOWER BUT I’M NOT ALONE
I’m trapped in a tower but I’m not alone.
I’m trapped with people I love—grudgingly, deeply, unconditionally.
I’m trapped in a tower with people who know me the least.
People who are unaware of my grand adventures and great loves or what I love or who I love.
People who don’t know that this poem exists. That I’m here. In this tower. Being the opposite of everything I want to be.
If I have many selves, this is the worst one.
Is self-editing worse than self-isolation?
But being trapped by myself would probably be worse—sometimes my mind falls into valleys of regret and pools of despair, and is rarely kind to my body and heart.
Yes, I’m trapped in this tower of hurt and shame and anger and fear of what the future holds.
But at least I’m not alone.
DAY 2: THE ROADTRIP
We bundle into the car in our traditional outfits.
Scattering your ashes is a road trip.
I watch the empty city slowly coming back to life.
I imagine a longer road trip.
The four of us are driving down to Kumta.
The village you were born in. The village you always wanted to revisit.
A car ride would take 13 hours and 4 minutes with no traffic, a quick Google search tells me.
But it will have to be extended for the sake of this movie.
Maybe we take a wrong turn and end up in the middle of nowhere, forced to sleep in the car or take refuge in a small hut.
Not an abandoned mansion, this is not a horror movie.
Maybe we meet someone along the way.
Someone who inspires us and helps us see the rut of repetitive patterns we’re stuck in.
Preferably not a woman, or at least not a manic pixie dream girl.
I won’t allow that in my movie.
One of us finally figures out what career they want to pursue.
One of us finds love with the non-manic pixie dream girl character. This will be me. I don’t make the rules.
One of us makes peace with being alone.
One of us decides they are better off in Kumta and quits their high-paying job to open a small farm and live a tech-free life.
All of us mourn your loss.
We finally reach Kumta and visit your childhood home.
Strangers live in it now but they welcome us inside.
We see the mango tree you once climbed. We submerge your ashes in a water body. (note: location research required)
We imagine a world where you are happy.
If there is a heaven, maybe yours looks like this. I have a crisis of faith but that’s a loose end left unresolved.
The movie ends with the road trip.
There is nothing beyond the road trip.
Issue 94 (Nov-Dec 2020)