The pale braches of winters past
Draw shadowy cracks on barren ground
Littered with yellowed promises
Of journeys to the stars
These tired pages creased with time
Are heavy with scars of fading ink
And the watermark of separation
Runs through every line
Return to these walls once more
And melt the frost on the panes
Let it flow and then run dry
In my crevices and folds
Shadows of smiles feigned,
Hearts scoured with steel wool,
Elastic ties that bind
With ropes that cut to the bone,
And abysses between the lines
Of the sharp edges we tread on,
Disappear in the quiet crumple
Of the pages you hold.
I gutted myself,
Spread my innards before you-
A gross picture
Of inopportune truths.
So carve out the bullets
Lodged in your soul
Lay them down with mine,
Before we dissolve.
He held her unbuttoned black shirt away from her body, like a pair of dark curtains. The view beyond was a pale, sickly, winter white. That desolation seemed beautiful to him.
He fingered the edges of the twin lacy scallops where skin met cloth.
“How can you feel insecure with a body like this?”
She glanced up. The moonlight threw the sharp lines of his face into gleaming relief and his eyes shone in the long shadows cast by his eyelashes. She was mesmerized.
“It’s my body. I have the right to feel insecure about it,” she said nonchalantly, casting her eyes back down at his wandering fingers.
Everything looks beautiful in the moonlight.
“Five o’ clock? I’ll be there.”
My lips curve into a smile as I finger the edges of a small black and white square of paper. It’s a photograph – a lithe figure, a white sheet carelessly thrown over half of her naked body, her unruly waves splayed all around her face, like a starburst. Me, one year ago.
The inscription on the back is branded onto my brain: “You little temptress. Love you forever- Zafar.”
An hour later, we face each other over tea. Everything seems slow, as if we’re underwater. He’s speaking. I look up.
“I regret marrying her, yes. But I wouldn’t leave her. No. We have a son.”
His calm makes me want to scream. I get up.
“I’d better get going. Oh, and this is for your wife.”
I reach into my bag. Part of me, a large part, had hoped it wouldn’t come to this.
I hand him a parcel- flowery blue paper, wrapped around a red shawl, a small black and white square of paper buried in the folds.
I seek you
In the echoes
Of a thousand faces,
In creases and corners
And once loved places
I find you
In the sounds
Of dried leaves and twigs,
And in the colour
Of blood mixed with ink
It’s when I discovered that you are pathetically, pitifully human that I wanted to kill myself, to slaughter myself at the ravaged altar where I once worshipped you. The irony.
Irony broke my heart once upon a time, not long before it saved me.
Not everything is meant to be ironed.