gambling my sobriety away with a god.

i’ve been drinking this cheap bottle of whiskey away with a god who stands beside my bedside every time this farce of a sky begins to shatter sometime after nine twenty-four in the evening, only to let go when it finally does. i think he thinks that i think that i have grown up enough to grow out of these feelings that rise and swell inside my throat like sea waves- only there’s no moon calling them.

or maybe there is, and my eyes have been so clouded in the dark by the crowd of rain that has crowded my lungs that i can’t begin to even make out the edge of luna’s silhouette from the crooked horizon of a raindrop.

but this he doesn’t know- the god who keeps letting me go.

or he didn’t. until last night when the gravity inside me finally broke down and brought upon meteor showers on my skin. (they’ve already caused one mass extinction, is it really so farfetched to think that they might not be incapable of causing another?) but he stood- just outside my reach and told me in a grave whisper that today-

we’d drink.

and so we’re drinking because there’s not much you can do when you finally come to terms with the fact that maybe your eyesight has been deteriorating without you realizing, and the footpath you’ve been walking on for the last year was in actuality the thin rail of line separating two opposite lanes of speeding tyre tracks on a highway leading you somewhere away from where you’ve been intending to go, and all you want to do now is go back to being half blind.

he seems convinced that this shot of bitter metal will do just that- rust our insides so much so that the outside doesn’t matter anymore, and we have long since lost sight of anything remotely resembling the shock of my miscarriage when the last of my sanity bled out of my bones, in a fraudulent attempt at calling my lover back to me.

but death never came for me that night.

••ra’ahe khayat

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the eventuality of successive delay.

he keeps scattering me like birdseeds on the roads, on the twenty-third of every month, some couple hours before the sparrows wake up.

i memorize the crevices in the concrete, and he memorizes the cracks in my bones from where the corpses on his temple dug their way under my skin, and set up cities on top of cemeteries full of smoke that could just never break free of their own pyre. it’s like a routine we follow, such that Luna has about half a fortnight to forebear the consequences of her absence, before she leaves again. she keeps coming back for him though, and he keeps coming back for me, and i keep coming back for the feeling of feeling myself break every night just to be regathered right before the dawn drapes himself on top of an adulterous sky.

i lay there, some couple of thousands of lightyears under the skyline, waiting for little eclipses to tear through my lungs, to bury our verities under their beaks and for him to wrap their wings around his carotid pulse, to learn how to read a receding heartbeat with the minimal knowledge of braille.

i lay there, on the forenoon of the twenty-third of every month, like a clockwork missing time by seconds that never match.

he keeps scattering me like birdseeds on the roads, for dead birds that just never come.

••ra’ahe khayat

to cross over unasked distances.

i tie our footprints into the dream-catchers
hanging off the beak of blackbirds,
that are on the verge of falling off
of an unconscious reverie
and into a sentient malaise,
over the way your irises decayed
around your pupils
when they descried skeletal love letters
dated upon northern wheatear bones.

••ra’ahe khayat

the routine sound of chipping ourselves.

we’re both nerves climbing over each other-

losing static each time we collapse,
losing pattern each time we rearrange,
losing memory each time we let go.

we forget.

i hold on to the threads
resembling those wrapped around your throat,
as if they might crawl
the amplitude of your voice
crushed under distance
with the same desperation with which
i sew them into my skin.

but it’s there-
somewhere;
a flicker of a sound
that bled right out of your ghost
and into the marrow of my bones.

it echoes-
ceaselessly,
carelessly,
almost as if it isn’t losing itself
each time it collides inside me.

almost as if i’m not
losing you.

••ra’ahe khayat

of that lie that never mattered.

of all the things you could’ve lied about, you lied about the one thing that never would’ve changed with the truth- of how i could always be the one sleeping in your arms, but we both would still be spending our nights between the legs of loneliness; of how i could always be your lover, but we both would always be in love with the way our hearts beat alone in our chests, unconcerned with the rhythm of another; of how you always curl your hands around my neck, never knowing if you’re suffocating me or the solitude that hangs around me like a dress whose collar ends at the cliff of my chin- that you knot around your neck like a tie- too formal to ever be comfortable in, too familiar to ever to ever let go of.

of all the things you could’ve lied about, you lied about how deserted we both were holding hands that strained to get lost in a crowd full of unrecognizable strangers.

••ari purkayastha

the things that find sound in the quiet.

we are used to finding closure
in the way the years
come closer to us,
on those drugged out nights
when all i can ever truly miss
is the taste of misery
on your fingertips.

i remember,
i used to pray for the single sound of silence
shattering in my voice box;
but it was far too quiet.
too quiet to hear your chest stutter
under my palms,
and too quiet to let go of the sound
of your footsteps that always
walked away.

sometimes,
the lack of a voice really does cage you
inside a room where nothing
ever fades away.

not even the loud incessant bangings of sorrow
on the fragile walls.

••ari purkayastha

stay.

stay-

like you have stayed in all my anonymous letters, to anonymous strangers living in an anonymous world.

stay-

like the cracks on our bodies don’t bother you anymore than they bother me; like the regrets on my skin don’t fuck apathy into yours, when you get more intimate with luna than you are with me. like you haven’t been hiding my paintings under train tracks, because that is the closest you come to committing suicide, without ever feeling your bones break under the weight of people who move on faster than your wrists can lose it’s pulse.

stay-

like the sand isn’t silting over your eyelids, like it isn’t forming scars that would take ten million lifetimes- with lifelines that have been broken into ten different times, to form ten intricate types of breathing patterns that would still collapse into the same singularity- to even out with the rest of your skin.

stay-

like i haven’t been pressing prayers into your palms, when the planets momentarily loose their anatomy to the wild mourning of a widowed star, grieving the twin that has over-dosed on the distance that comes with being free from gravity. like a heart-attack is just another riot in your chest from bones being held in too tightly (you can only increase the density so much, before everything falls in or falls away).

stay-

like i haven’t been kissing every millimeter of your neck, just to feel your voice cords snap under my lips, because sometimes, it hurts more when you are prepared to talk, just to watch the the color in my pupils scatter, than when you remain silent to hear me scream out every reason that keeps me from whispering your name.

stay-

like the thought of leaving breaks your heart, more than it could ever break mine.

••ari purkayastha

for the things i never ask.

i would’ve rather asked you
how many names you’ve scribbled
on the back of your hands
with needles,
and how many of them you’ve stricken out
when the bus stopped
in a screech,
and two footsteps always faltered
on the sidewalks
in a slow contemplation
of death.

i would’ve rather asked you
how many times you’ve stabbed your thighs
with razor blades
that sank perpendicularly
to your veins,
when the wrinkles on their wrists
folded into themselves,
like curtains closing
over their heart chambers.

i would’ve rather asked you
the number of ways
you’ve learned to sing her poem completely,
without ever remembering the stanza
that left her lips
in those seven mute seconds
that somehow got trapped between
your window and her door,
when she had been
choking herself on all those lifeless little sentences
that had wrapped themselves
around her voicebox
like a noose that tightened
every time your lungs skipped a breath.

i could’ve asked you to describe
every single scar on your skin
in microscopic detail-
but sometimes,
your quiet echoes vividly
when my heart falls silent
under your palm.

sometimes,
i live when you don’t speak.

••ari purkayastha

of roses that fell in love with grief. i.

wp-1493221410020.do you remember how your skin had mottled over her words?

you had thorns digging themselves out of your bones and vines crawling all around your throat, trapping the last remnants of their antipathy to fester in your lungs.

i remember you suffocating for days afterwards. days that were defined by your capability to distinguish the sunrise from sunset. days that were a motley mess of every sound that echoed loud enough in your skull to shatter mirrors. days that you still hold close to yourself, because she left roses at your door-

she who wooed your grief.

i wish you had seen those roses for the fault lines of your heart like she had intended. i wish you had seen those roses as anything other than hope.

••ari purkayastha