love letter and a dime.

i have loved you long for longer years, in stories of myth and death and pain, throughout histories of broken tales, and premonitions of mirrors bleeding upon a poem i would, and perhaps should carve out of the chambers beating breathlessly in my heart- a heart that you could quite literally feel dying an asphyxiated death beneath the hollowness of the ribcages you spent your nights painting with. somedays, when the rain is no less than a painless substitution for the ink i fill my copperplate nibs with, i can hear you wordlessly walk the short few steps from the window to the bed, in search of a moonless dusk we both lost somewhere along the way from one year to the next, as the guitar strings and the violin blades tangled away from our skeletal ankles, predilecting pulse in lieu of a coffin coldness.

ossification was just one of the few words i’d taught myself to describe the slow evolution of all those nerves firing and misfiring behind my eyes, as the candles voicelessly faded away from my nails- leaving a charred mass of blade behind, to live with a regret never forgiven (perhaps never even memorized). and how could i possibly forgive you once you nailed our steps to the walls as a scornful portrayal of yesterday, and a cruel mockery for tomorrow- architecting the devastating intricacies of jahannum within the labyrinthine abstractions of jannah.

sing my darling, i should like to whisper, but today, i’d much rather be sucked under the vortex of reality than swim in the shallow water illusions of fantasies, and fate, and folklores about victorian chandeliers hanging inside greecian palaces, where a solitary raven cries away to the crescendo of a corroded leviathan gateway descending upon a widow’s bouquet of stygian roses. i wouldn’t be a mourner- someone haunting pages of literature with a million expressions and phrases about how sunsets on boneyards awakened a long dead body with a longer dead heart as it simply brushed away decayed decades off it’s veins and begun beating to the notes of my flute in a strange forgotten symphony- no, i’d much simply rather be one of those dark eyed dames you’d see crossing the roads, (when cars chase a scarlet comet with headlights and horns) walking with footsteps feathering on losing and belonging. just never quite anywhere- yet completely never- nowhere.

••ra’ahe khayat

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death is as delicate as life is callous.

you watch the day breakdown in quite hymns and lose its faith in quieter breaths at moments when it becomes more and more difficult to watch the blue jays on your window sills struggle to fly with half torn wings.

you listen to the afternoon wail and beg the same way an old man begs for his wife (dead for a decade now) to hold his fingers against her breast and remind him that he can forget to take another breath and still remember the sound of her last one.

it’s here today- a sun that is struggling to rise from its grave, because sometimes the dead die in the most phlegmatic of ways-

in the eulogies of themselves that never spoke of their name.

••ra’ahe khayat

epitaph.

and when i die—

strip my skeleton of it’s skin,
and my organs of their bones,
and scatter them on concrete laden roads
for the dying to paw at;

throw my eyes and my lungs and my womb,
but my heart—

keep that which never loved
yet broke
everywhich day it longed
but never did more.

place it within a burning pyre of wisteria wood,
and gather their ashes for splintered sparrows
to carry off to the tongue
of my lover

i never could love after all.

••ra’ahe khayat

when the sun was high, & our lungs were higher with the lack of breath.

there was an entire afternoon you’d spent calculating the width of a splintered horizon, hanging from the hair-tips of your old lover’s wraith; and it was the most of you i’d seen in the longest part of ever- where the rattling in your bones resonated with the fracturing in your heart, while your fingers furiously flew over a blackened paper decaying with the distance from an unstructured reality.

and on that day you haunted me most-

with your lips scarred with her name, and your chest cavity crumbling with her memories buried inside of them like an oldest house folding into itself- you held me to the edge of your body, like an unbridled sea holds the sky- while the closest i ever got to you was when my own breath recoiled back to me.

i remember, how you were so full of equations that’d never dare to exist in the world outside of us, and how you tied every single poem of mine into a probability that existed in a line full of mathematical assumptions, and i remember, how you chanted those equalities like a desperate prayer from someone between belief and heresy, as if some uncalculated error might draw her back to when you and her- you fucked with a kehkashan slowly losing its uncentered gravity at the space between your chests.

and i remember, how your legs met the tiled land under our feet as you watched all your calculations fall apart like two lovers after they’d undone the last dredgs of their being.

and because i loved you because you loved her and because she loved this longing more than you, we stood under that afternoon sky with our palms hanging open- almost bleeding at the lifelines- just struggling to forget
how to breathe.

••ra’ahe khayat

and in the awakening of her absence.

it was barely a monday-
i had folded her skin under mine,
and held the soft whisper of her heart
like an echo in my chest cavity.

she had lost her words.

and on wednesday-
her lungs were filled with water
from all her tears she’d swallowed
as my lips pushed my breath
into her blood.

she was decaying.

and the air around us changed
from winter to autumn,
as the blue broke down into a shade of brown
which couldn’t gather it’s sanity long enough
to remember to live.

she’d fractured by saturday-
beside this broken ocean that seeks redemption
for each time it betrayed gravity
to lay naked next to Luna,
by beating it’s body against mine
and holding on
until we were both losing our bones
under the long weight
of a lover slipping from the memory.

i am most human in her death.

••ra’ahe khayat

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

god is dead.

god is dead.

he died seven years ago, on the streets of mumbai- hit by a car, while he stumbled on the sidewalks, mumbling all sorts of obsolescent prayers, as the meth in his veins slowly bestrewed his significance on those half eaten concrete roads, that wrapped itself like a ragged hand-me-down scarf, around a city standing on human bones.

his body lay there for three days before it was discovered by a fisher-maid, setting up her baits, trying to catch skeletons that had somehow learned to float in just that layer of water that was reserved for the living. she never screamed. she never did anything, but walk to a nearby cigarette shop- that sold faux maturity to eleven-years-olds for just a measly price of 5 rupees (or if you were short on the money, you could always pay with the excess of the cells in your lungs), and picked up the half-broken telephone that had gone out-of-date some twenty years ago, to call men who had seen far too many bodies- in more states of decay than a lifelong sexton.

it lay there for another hour- unsupervised- before moving shadows started crowding around it with judgemental eyes, that knew more about him, than he probably ever did. there were more stories on his sullen skin than his tongue ever let on; stories full of naivete, hope and failure. stories that could probably rob the world of another century of hunting answers, in pages written by men a lot less learned than those seeking them.

but he never spoke.

those answers, and those questions, and their answers- they all gradually lost their pallor as the blood drained out of him during his postmortem. they declared that he had overdosed. that he would have died, even if the car hadn’t bashed his head in. that he had been dying long before he finally did. that he had cancer harvesting in his heart. that he was probably suicidal, because his hands looked like they had been a brutal war-ground, where the only winner were those who were not breathing. they said his wrists looked just like the humans he was rumored to have created- scarred and failed. he was depressed, they said.

his face was in the newspapers for eighteen days, waiting to be claimed- in news articles read desperately, only by desperate family members of desperately lost people, who were more conversant about themselves than the rest, to actually advertise that they were indeed lost, and in need of help.

on the twenty-first day, they burned him in a pit with rest of the homeless corpses- no one recognized him.

no children.
no wife.
no family.
no name.

no one knew what god looked like after all.

••ari purkayastha


i’m not trying to make a statement. it’s merely an idea. religion has nothing to do with this essay.

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

a vague classification of you.

you’re the kind of love that
taints hearts and breaks bones.

the kind that echoes uncertainty,
and mourns poetry-
concurrently.

the kind that is conceived
in a breath,
and decays in the next.

the kind that leaves your body
like a bullet,
and scars your skin like a serrated knife-
the kind you start forgetting
before it’s gone,
but live with long after your chest
has succumbed to gravity.

••ari purkayastha


Last post as an 18 year old.

for her, who left.

i call for your sparrows at midnight-

they cry on my lips like forgotten lovers
i couldn’t bring myself
to weep for,
while i held their bones in my hands
like your heartbeat-
structured into a delicate masquerade
of permanence.

there is mourning in your name,
and agony in it’s echo-
as your speech stutters in a static
cold desperation that
parts us without any possibility
of a choice.

you can’t hear much anymore,
almost as if the sounds have dulled
in the space between my breaths
and your mind-

and neither can they.

it’s easier to sing
if no one can hear you beg the sky
for words you wish would
dig themselves out of your throat.

we are a dead statistic in a graveyard
crowded with grief-
i could only muster a vague sense of
sobriety to fill my lungs,
before your loss rips the horizon
from my chest
in a cascade of hastily receding widows.

••ari purkayastha