A Letter from my Childhood Room

You were ten when we first met.

You were fighting with your sister for me

I was the bigger room

It was always about bigger things – better things

Younger ones are like that among your kind

You were no different

 

But my four walls were never enough

At ten years nothing is enough

It was the first home you owned – all four of you

“You can scribble in these walls”, your father said

Admit it though

You were still scared of sleeping alone in your bed

 

I was there

When you father told your mother, she was a terrible cook

You wondered why you loved everything she made

But You kept quiet

He was more important to please

So you became his perfect little girl

 

I saw him, so did you

But you let your silence win

Each time he raised his hand

Your father was always right, right?

Your sister had made a mistake in math

She “deserved” the punishment

 

I was there

When you were angry coz your sister wouldn’t come out and play

She is being a snob, you told yourself, why else?

I knew why

Back then you didn’t know the meaning of rape, neither did she

Little girls aren’t supposed to

 

I saw you learning every prayer your father taught

You were perfect in your efforts of winning him

I was there

When he decided to leave the house for 3 years

He left to buy you a better life

I saw you miss him everyday

 

I saw her –

Your mother fighting your teenage self in vain

Your sister becoming the man of the house

She bravely chased the rats away

She was always your knight

Her armor would never grow a chink

 

I saw your mother confide

She wrote in her diary

“Am I a bad mother?”

At the age of 11, you had made her wonder

Were your lies her fault?

You may’ve been a child but you weren’t easy

 

You invented stories by the day

Yet you were scared they’d come alive at night

I saw you read your sister’s suicide letter

She had torn it up and thrown it away

You walked outside her closed room that night aching to hear her breathe

You heard her move about and then you went to sleep

 

At 14, you’d wake up in darkness every night

You’d see a shadow on your doorway

You were not really scared of a nightmare

You were just curious as to why you cherished them some nights

The shadow wouldn’t say anything

It just stood there – a silhouette of a woman

 

You left me when you turned 17

By now even the house wasn’t enough

You were angry at everything

Angry at your mother for her silence

Angry at yourself for yours

Angry at your sister for not being angry enough

 

I lost you for a while

You slept without dreams and nightmares for 10 years

You grew up

You brought up your heart

You trained it to forget the fights, the beatings, the masochism of it all

You grew out of the anger

 

You stashed your pain away in boxes

You only shed tears for your friends

Your own sorrows didn’t deserve them

Your sister was still your knight inside your temple for Athena

She’d passed on her armor to you

There was no room for weakness now

 

And here we are 

You are 30 years old

You peeping into me from the doorway

You fear the darkness inside

You think you see her – the ghost of a memory – that 14-year-old girl

You wish you could tell her

 

It’s not you, dear girl

It was never your fault

You see that’s why you were never scared of nightmares!

You know now

These shadows at the edge of the doors are just pictures of you years from now

Now you wonder why that silhouette stayed in the dark?

 

You didn’t know then what you’d look like now

You didn’t know then you’d forgive

That you’d promise to fight for your sister when no one fights for her

That you’d promise strength to your mother when she’s crumbling

That you’d promise forgiveness to your father when he’s lonely

Above all, you promise tears for yourself

 

I see you

You’re a woman, a little rough around the edges but mostly nice

You – you look beautiful

I see you

You were my child too, if only walls could talk

I’d say I’m proud, dear child

I’m proud!

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Pieces

There is a peace in this room

Tonight

A silence broken only by pieces of our lives

Exhaled

A piece of you and a piece of me

Intertwined

By the dimming twinkles of the fairy string lights

If you squint

They would look like fireflies

There is a peace in this room

Darkness

That saves itself in shadows behind packed

Boxes

Our hands don’t touch

Each other

They aren’t supposed to after decades

Together

Our life has written all it can on our faces

There is a peace in this room

Tonight

These walls are looking new to me

Each day

Your face is slowly fading further into the fog

Everyday

But here is what I know in the depths of my heart

Your pieces

Have stayed in this rusty mind of mine

There is a peace in this room

Tonight

Fact: every time you exhale

You die

Your soul waits for a moment

For takers

Then crawls right back into your skin

Into life

There is a peace in this room

Tonight

Because my soul is slowly holding on

To yours

And every time I exhale it takes longer

To come back

As if deciding, whether

It’s worth it

Ah! But I forget the piece in this room

Tonight

The only piece of you my mind doesn’t

Let go

You see when souls are together

For this long

It doesn’t matter which piece goes to

The reaper

There is a peace in this room

Tonight

My life has been lived and your death’s

Dying

With creeping breath I now know what will

come to pass

Your soul will preserve mine inside your deliciously

Ancient skin

 

On Lazy Vacations

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Think small, breathe deep

Wait for joy to rescue me?

 

Sit in silence across a table

Nodding off over crappy fables

 

Listening to the moans of an empty heart

Intensity to a man is just a small sum of parts

 

My soul will select her societies

My faith will live, perched on golden deities

 

Insignificance is dreary

When the mirror tells of it so clearly

 

I have barely been a day

Under the sun’s glare by the bay

 

And yet thoughts of life and death come easy

Like warm and cold in an empty sea breeze

 

Here in a room full of strangers

I find my voice the loudest and in danger

 

This thought

It had to be put down

That smile

It had to be spent

For a heart

Whose love knows no bounds

Hurts when

It is strummed into silence.

Endless

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I am not an enigma

Not one you have to figure out

I don’t dwell in bags

Or put my secrets in boxes locked out

My thoughts are simple

Although sometimes they rhyme

I don’t make plans

Not ones that have the biding of a time

I am endless

Because for you I never really began

And I know I might not be on your list

Or part of your best laid plans

I am the river and the mountain

I am the cosmos and the karma

My smile is a solved mystery

And my moan a known murmur

I won’t start, won’t stop

I am forever and I am right now

I am not an open book

And I don’t wish to be your court clown

I am a song that will play on

In your mind and mine

For one day I might breathe my last

But only to step into the abyss of time….

A Suitable Girl

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For when you think I’m too old
To love and to have and to hold
Your Dorian laughs in his frame
As cracks appear across his face

For when you tell me I should cook
And not be reading so many books
Your kitchen sink mocks you
When everyday your dinner gets brutally bruised

For when you chide me for being too loud
And ask me to hold my tongue in a crowd
You know not how your friends oblige
By laughing when you really make them cry

For when you wonder if I’d be a good trophy
Me, with my innate lack of propriety
Your workplace thanks heavens
When you step away from matters of importance

For when you check if I’m “suitable”
If I’m a good enough “marriage material”
Alas! You are not able to see
You are not good enough for me!

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The Red Shoe

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A little red shoe
Is the gateway
To the world
Full of dreams for you

It lies in innocence
Deep in the garden
Of my blooming daffodils
Awaiting your remembrance

A swing set sways
Blown by the wind
Wishing for your company
On this winter’s day

Awaiting your tiny hands
That held on to the chains
And with each rise
Imagined unknown mysterious lands

A lovely dressed up doll
Sits alone at your tea party
She misses the hugs
That kept away the night’s cold

She awaits mundane conversations
Your fairy tale concerns
The view from the dollhouse now:
Everyday is a dark revelation

Perched on my window sill
My cold dark mind
Flutters like that bee
Buzzing around my daffodils

They miss your touch so tender
Their beauty belying the truth
They bloom from the love
Seeping through from six feet under….

Her shadow

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I was born as an afterthought
A shadow of her truth
I was never surprised
That I wasn’t their God’s perfect muse

I was a plan B
A wilful addition
Aren’t we all?
We ,the secondary volitions…

I often wonder
Would I have been different
If she’d have stepped in after me
Like her, would I have been as benevolent

In sharing their love
Like a share of the pie
Would I have done the same?
If she teared up would I have cried?

Would I have felt then
What I feel now
Would I have thought myself
A useless tug along tow?

But it hits me
Uselessness is a disease
It has nothing to do with her
My mind goes where it pleases

And it pleases to think me
Unnecessary!
I’m masochistic that way
Without her as my blissfully ignorant glee

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Sigh. Smile. Reminisce.
The thought awakens real slow
In this empty world
I’d rather be her shadow
Than go it alone
Or grant her my own