there’s a tired boy outside my window,
his face flutters with the wind;
sand waiting to be washed over by the waves.
it keeps returning, a sigh stuffed in your mouth,
with alien mannerisms you don’t follow.
sometimes tired falls down on me-
a motel bed sheet i clutch after staining the ones at home;
fall isn’t as beautiful as the poets declare,
it’s mostly just falling.

when i put out my wounds on the streets for display,
it’s not for a passerby to nurse them;
we’re past that, now i wait for them to shy away,
to quiver and disappear with all that gaze.

i hold your hands wrapping mine in plastic gloves,
i stink of hideousness;
paperweights on my fingernails, apologies in foreign languages.
i scream in porcelain jars crammed with glycerin
till my nose starts bleeding;
fragile is written in minuscule text
on the sides of my fingers.

everyday is an advertisement for death-
eyes like scalpels, insinuating to be saved;
in a rusty fall which withers down daffodils.
it’s all becoming yellow, the saddest colour,
it sits on my face like a dead albatross;
holds my poems at gunpoint,
but everyone likes being held.

i fill up these shrivelling straws with rotten wine-
all summer i built a cage for the nightmares,
only to crumble under a careless stranger’s boots
clumsily plodding through piles of fall clinkering on the streets.
the cold compress on my head smells of a white clad nurse:
the ones that disappear in hospital corridors
like niceties spiralling into erasure.

stay, stay, stay
echoes on my throat like a sick lady with her rosaries;
smiles, i eat them up-
just like the horizon swallows the sun.

meenal jhajharia