i’m a statue of ash
stitched together with stale air,
my fears snuggle up in the cracks of walls,
the ones that i paint like sour cream;
they bundle up between the crinkles
on my piled up laundry, dressed like
overdue receipts of shoplifted love.

there are many ways to stop breathing;
i happen to know a few.
my body draws itself into a cult around a bonfire;
only glued together with fear.
contagious, more so than love.
i have a habit of trying to hold air,
for times when i run out of breath:
before running away into other hollow spaces;
forgetting that air does things
other than making knots in my throat,
brittle bones marking territories of ruin;

i’m scared of living,
i keep rehearsing how to stop.
nightmares are hanging uptight,
in between pastel bed sheets
under the scorching sun;

like white palisades
in the night terrors i make up
sexton would you see, the nightmares
were always peeping out of houseplants.
all the drooping daisies are
drowning themselves in white orchids;
lifelessness walking around the room-
a barefoot and benignant tumour;

i sit with the silence across the coffee table,
we exchange unpleasant pleasantries;
waiting for each other to break.
the sky shies away from my desolation,
throw your guts out, neatly hang them
under the damp september sun.

memory is just an impression,
slate is just stone, walls are just lonely bricks;
these walls are growing on my face,
i turn away to quietly rearrange beads-
blindness is as devoted as rosary;
keeps your head off itself.

meenal jhajharia