"It's as if the tube lights are there on purpose to make the rubbish glow." The gust of your whisper throws the window open when you survey the garbage-strewn view that it frames. I liked the dump, for its fluorescent glint was my unfailing night lamp that studded the ground below me with polythene diamonds. Sterile garbage- its crinkled gleam, plastic defeat and benign refusals are free of the odours of struggle.
Sterile unlike my memory, an odorous memory that suffers the sanitizing storm of a clattering garbage truck at your command every morning. Though you're gone, your schizophrenic spores of doubt have ripened my memory into an ageless senility. Night after night, I drink tea out of the styrofoam hallucination of "Maggi Soup" only to wake up wondering if I'd drunk tomato soup or elaichi chai. Whether your eternal youth has blinded me to the fleeing burglars of my own youth. Whether my 52- month-night in your arms turned me into Rip Van Winkle, gone astray in my own backyard after having lost my reins on time.
I’d been writing alibis for an entire lifetime, the looped alibis of discontent, till I found you. You inoculated me against pretence, by weaning me off that compulsive game of darts where I aimed interminably in vain for that impossible bulls’ eye of my dream self, that perfect me that I never attained. Dearest, in learning not to disown you, I learned never to disown myself ever again. The sole souvenir salvaged from your four-year-lease of me was my true self.
I made an ossuary out of plundered graves, hoping to pass it off for my ivory tower of contemplation. Whenever I stretched across that skeletal scaffolding to reach for fresh coats of white paint, the skulls rattled tunefully to your laughter. Were you reminding me that I was resting upon the bare bones of desires that weren’t my own? Or that our tower of Babel would cave in to entomb me?
I love you enough to embrace eternal exile, sans elegy, sans grief and sans shrine.
Though you walk away with that satisfied smile of successful exorcism on your lips, you’ll remember. In the corners between the bricks that strain to remember and those that strain to forget, your careless finger will catch a stray sliver of dusty memory unawares. When you the slash through the offending cobweb, one-fingered and shuddering, the spider will tug heroically hard at your finger along before dying its stubborn death and your heart, if only for a frozen instant, will tremble in reminiscence.
I don’t want to cry, but if my inky tears swim their way across blank paper gulfs to stain words into them, will they bring our handheld silences back? I don't want to hold you to ransom, but if promises seep into my lips in the form of kisses, will they buy me one more hour of your winter sunshine? I don’t want a second chance, but if my straitened silence breaks into a mutiny of sighs, will they be quelled by your backward glance?
March 5, 2o17. Houston. Tx.
9 months ago