the folding and unfolding of a love-story.

i.

it began on the fourth week of february
when she fell in love with
a bird under a man’s skeleton.

before march stole in through the chimney,
she was licking at the little pockmarks
his beak had left on her lips
after they kissed.

i’d wondered if he was a jay bird;
she wondered if she was loved back.

ii.

april came with her days on her tongue,
and her nights behind her spine
she’d spent at the feet of her faith.

they both were born to gods
holding carvers to the other’s neck.

they both were born to gods
who never forgave.

mid may,
she hummed hymns into the hollow of his hips,

and he said—

‘we are children born to never love
but to only pray for the longing to wane
into

w h  i   s    p     e      r       s.’

iii.

it was on the seventh day of june
when she moved her heart
into the woodpecker’s hole he’d dug on her scapula:

covered with a stretch of skin
no rock dove would ever steal.

••ra’ahe khayat

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leave, for there isn’t much to stay for.

2bbbec97bd86eae5a789b4a926d15804if you have come to leave, then do not stay by me with your breath reeking of yesterdays -time decays by days, heart decays by the hours- and i and you, we decayed in the heartbeats it took for the sparrows to migrate from northern longings to southern silences.

if you stay, but do not remain, then be there in that faraway land where the sky weeps into your palms, with the very lover you keep leaving behind, simply to come watch me fall;
but
if you must, then be here until the very end, when the rocks fill my marrows, and exorcise them of the monsoon that grieves without rain.

if you have come to but watch the stars lose their grip on my hair, then flit away little bird, the earth is yet to learn to fill the spaces under the skin of those left with much but ghosts;
-i’ve had far too many lovers to remain human. i’ve loved your heart in far too many ways to remain with one.

if you last to only feast on the memories buried in my areola, then perhaps you musn’t- there isn’t much brown that lingers on my nerves,
there isn’t much of the blue either.

••ra’ahe khayat

cassandra.

199b69d8cd40ec0a93f8ffc3f64de752--dark-flowers-wild-flowerscassandra woke me up last night with her hair in my face, and her breath in my neck, and the frail beginnings of her grief tucked lightly in my palm. her breasts rested on my ribs, somewhere between two hearts- straining to unlive a relativistic heartquake that left more fault lines on our skin than this dense silence ever did; and her fingers lay over my womb- leached of all life.

she trembled- like there was an entire mos scattering in the echoing marrow of her bones, while the red in her hair insouciantly wilted into an utmost inconsolable complexion of grey; and she grew flowers on her skin with the wet linger of death she wore like a dress- draped over her skeleton like a monsoon sky halfway between falling and drowning.

i loved cassandra like i loved luna, and cassandra loved me like luna never did; and i left her after every fortnights, when luna spread herself naked across the sky bed like an unspoken of lover between three heartbeats and one parched kiss.

but she was spoken of- between cassandra and i.

we spoke of her when the concrete of the roads had turned too coarse from being unwalked on, because cassandra thought it was like our fingers- too inelegant and insensate from not touching anymore. she spoke of luna when she felt grass blades turn red from the scars in the arch of her soul, as her feet carelessly tread through them. she was spoken of when the sun took far too long festering under the long skirts of a horizon that had spent the last decade sleeping with every lost planet that sought it out, just for a chance at getting higher than it perpetually was. 

she spoke of her, like an atheist speaks of a god- with an apathetic reverence; and last night, cassandra kept praying to the god with the only comprehensive part of her she had left anymore- her longing. 

i broke cassandra like i could never break luna, and cassandra broke me last night more than luna ever bothered to.

••ra’ahe khayat

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

beginning the equation of betrayal.

i hold the sky like a jilted lover
i’ve been seeing behind your back,
in stolen gasps,
that you fail to comprehend today.

it never looks at me any more than you do-
almost as if it’s too hard
to keep pretending to care when you don’t;

almost as if it’s too easy
to let go of the quiet silences that
slipped between the lines of our palms,
when march came rolling in like a martyr
to our february mistakes.

there were a lot of those-
regrets we carefully disguised under
the careless slurring of
alcoholic lies.

we still haven’t begun counting-
you and i.
we still can’t bring ourselves to just
begin.

••ari purkayastha