the cat sits there
digging its claws into the linty mattress,
she drowsily dumps her head on the floor;
pinned against the knots in air -
like a dull mustard painting
waiting to be sold
in those dimly lit indie art houses;
i keep nauseating myself
into an oversaturated canvas.

I throw myself into the ocean ,
so there’s no uncertainty of picking the right floors.
my eyes sit still like marbles, mirrors etched on all four walls,
crumbling into smithereens with hysterical sighs.
my eyes wobble through the hourglass,
digging sanity in wayward sand;
the dead are chained to their graves,
i build cells in my brain and paint them pink,
as if gilded shackles don’t clink.

i keep materializing all this grief, stuff it in briefcases
to dinner time etiquettes. so it won’t settle on my bones,
still air, shivering shroud on a tablecloth, at dinner
we mince our veins. i hover over the word joy,
squishing my fingers in between the letters;
till i hang the word upside down- i seal the envelope
in blood, lest i forget who’s grief am i carrying;

most days it looks like the thin slice of dust on my desk;
i don’t do my bed so it stays there on the lints.
the ceiling wants to break open half the days,
or fall down; whatever it is, catharsis has its ways;
pink isn’t soft,
it’s a child hardened with scarlet fever,
while the nurse patiently hemmed the shroud with her own pleats;
cat’s in the cradle,
eighteen pencils circle in a levitating staircase.
her soft fur just pinches my skin;
so does the sound of the
neighborhood couple jesting like rancid pieces of cake.
i violently stuff myself with air,
to keep my borrowed statutory sanity;
pale envelopes spoil themselves
but i don’t know where to start with this rot.

water tastes like paraffin wax that i gobble down,
still reluctantly, compulsively staring at the cat-
she didn’t have a halo,
but looking at her made me want to chop off my eyes;

meenal jhajharia