Granite Mortar

Excerpt from the poem I will never write

As a child, I wondered about Atlantis— how entire civilizations
lay still, beneath the deep. I wondered about secrets— what use
do we have of them? That dangerous thing that paws away at the door—
opening it
fissuring it.

I wondered about Mother, the many shades in her demeanour. As a child,
I learned not to underestimate her. She once broke a granite mortar
into two perfect pieces, as easily as the way she slips into her Northern dialect.
Dialects are malleable but language breaks when you bend it. I am still
haunted by the stark disappointment of words,
the shadow of my own idea—
harvest of barren land,
a wilted flower,
dry husk of a friend.

I know now that not every fraction of me, is meant for paper.
I am, after all, more blood than ink,
and more human than writer.

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Passenger Seat

he is leaning from the front passenger seat
silence and stillness, spilling on the street
me, infatuated. mind, intoxicated
his skin, illuminated
by the warm streetlight glow
fuck Maslow, honestly
love should be further down the hierarchy
how can this not be a physiological need?
love is illogical, guaranteed
pale irises, dark lashes and oversized glasses
everything about him, infringing on my sanity
forgive the profanity
but fuck this, fuck resisting
every wire in my body
and if hellfire is my penalty, then God, He
can personally escort me to the gates
because me and this guy right here,
we’re soulmates.

Ariadne’s Thread

what if the universe
could reveal itself to us
with a pull of a strand
its mysteries unravelling
like a worn sweater
our unspooled pasts behind us
like Ariadne’s red thread
marking the path
through this labyrinth

Neverland

Wendy Darling asked where he lived
second star to the right, said Peter
and straight on till morning

once upon a time
in a nightgown adventure
a medley of fluttering fairy smiles
blue velvet dreams, and pirates by the shore
we believed that all anyone could need
were faith, trust and pixie dust
we stitch shadows to our feet, to remind us
of who we are without light

and the years after, we waited
our heads, resting on windowsills
we mapped the path between the stars
and during our long starlit vigil
we dreamt of you, Peter
of the twinkle in your eyes
as if they were the point on which
all the universe revolved

there will come a time
when we all fall victim to chronology
when Tiger Lily will have to hang her
dreams next to business suits on hooks
when the Lost Boys are all men now
hand over their still stargazing souls
into the claws of a corporation
swim with sharks until they drown

the villain will look different now
he has traded his eye-patch,
his flying pirate ship and his metal hook
for a business suit and a microphone
but he is still the same man behind this façade
the same fire in his heart
still spiteful, still angry, still afraid
of little boys and girls
and he will scatter bombs like fairy dust
over their rooftops

they will tell us to be realistic
this will hurt
because when we were children
they told us to dream big
they told us that the world is at our feet
only to rip our shadows from beneath us

so when one day, you realize
your shadow has vanished, Peter
please do not come looking
you won’t find me
because this Wendy Darling has left her
childhood in the gilded cages of her past
you won’t recognize her anymore

Places I Avoid

Rush hour traffic
Pot holes
Window seats
Vitriolic comment sections
Abandoned parking lots
Overpriced restaurants
The route to your house
Fast lanes
My hometown
The local library
Cracks in the pavement
The intersection in Venn diagrams
Rain puddles
Prayer mats
The patches of skin where your hand once was
The small of my back
My palm
My fingers
And the spaces in between
A crime scene

Crevasse To A Fault Line

For my cousin, Dhia

this is for the day you discovered bones aren’t
the only things that break, like fog melting into asphalt
he disappeared into the night. a father, more ghost than flesh
his mouth, a revolver. the sound of gunshot, your nursery rhyme
after he left, a crack worked its way up the living room wall
from a hairline fracture to a crevasse, to a fault line and
your mother would tell you not to worry, as she often does
and you hope for her sake that this house is stronger than
the two of you, but you still ask yourself: how long before
the cement finally gives way? how long before the floodgates
open and these bones are mended? but how do you heal
if they are no entry wounds? how do you bury the dead when
there is no body? only a broken rib, a collapsed lung and
a hunger for air.

But I Knew Him

You will never forget the way he smelled, like tangerines in the summer. Even years later, you would catch yourself thinking about the stolen glances in school corridors. You found his laugh in a boy in Bucharest. His particular shade of blonde in a girl you met on the train once. You, always piecing together the fragments of your past, each cobbled together. A mosaic— indecipherable, incomplete. You, always wondering when the final piece would wash ashore.

Excerpt from the Bucky Barnes/Steve Rogers fanfic I am destined to one day write.