10 min read

How do I Survive So Much Love?     


Practised fall, and so happens when trained in wrist thrusts 

In wrangles and in stroking foreheads – finesse of a feather dance. 

Nevertheless, now my palm just white meat, 

Pinned on the kitchen slab, remains there curled up

 Conditioned to eat up air and rest into nothingness. 

My hand was seized by a knife before. 

Did it not know the difference between 

Human skin and onion skin? 

Perhaps it wanted the reddening 

As it peeled off layers. 

Was it looking for more? 

As happens in the spoils of love. 

There is so much redness it desires 

Like a little girl on a lipstick counter. 

Or it was possibly gossiping away with the gas lighter

The gas lighter picking things up from the pipeline. 

There is after all potential in these kitchen walls. 

And then it chose its victim well. 

For it surely does aspire after human skin 

Over bird skin and bird skin over onion skin. 

Tired of getting shoved against dead things 

It wanted a taste of life, a gin of gushing blood. 

It saw me in the eye and said it harboured death for so long, 

Who wants an exchange? 

How must it feel against the pulse so schooled in grace

As it chafes it with kisses, then eats it alive. 

For it is a seductress with its slick figure 

And sharp motion, it has to be one. 

But like every quick lover, it too leaves things undone 

A rash assassin leaving fingernails on sand, not a job well done. 

Stupid little slut, bury your thirst, put the girdle back on!

See what you’ve done, both of us now in wired vans.


There you are motioning back and forth from a heavy cart                                                                                             

emptying totes of jars 

into your car

Setting them off to our homes

                                              fool’s errand and one day

You’d be complaining of low appetite                                                             the doctor sent us back with less thinking

 to do 

             and some clonazepam before bed

There you are sleeping at my feet,

    dreamt your way through like a clock’s hand 

Reaching for answers at dawn, you’d say

then complain if I hand them out

I’m advised to watch you forget things and misjudge weathersWeathers are there to be predicted poorly                                                                 fool’s errand and one dayWe’d be eating out of a day’s old skillet                                                                found from the box in the dashboard, meant to be sent to an aunt The car has been more than a home nowI sit with my legs crossed and rest my head as the horns go freeThere you are coming out of a low and making plans                                                                                    of never going back home and taking it up northYou’d like it if I drove you to the ResidencyOr down to the Charminar maybe          You could only drive till Gorky Sadan instead                                                                                                             and made me speak some broken RussianIt was a centennial something of Dostoevsky                                                                      you disagreed with his endings so you thought it was a good idea for usWe quit before the speaker could quit, I thought I should tell you in the hallway                                                                                                                             Fool’s errand and one dayI had realised geometry problems remind me of Karenina’s death                                                                                                      Perhaps this whole idea of a journey is a joke I had looked out of the window the whole time, should you reach outBut you didn’t and sent me back home with a bunch of sweaters your flat owed meAnd there you were again calling my mother                                                                     she had forgotten all about you, and I had to repeat                 you and her exchanged the recipe of galouti kebab                                                           you and her once drove to the hospital during the visiting hours                                                                    you and her agreed over the need for a Jagjit Singh’s ghazal dailyI had no interest to explain her your case, nor mine ever                                        neither about the way we had known each otherThen you would like to talk about family and she about youI quite found contentment in your skinning a duck on a weekend,       looking up after reaching the end of a listI’d like to stay here during the holidays                    Do one thing, bring back the sweatersThis was a good judgement on your part, I had dry forearmsAnd you said it is winter already           which it was not.You’d stopped making a bed and preferred the couch these days      or so you saidIt’s a side effect really, you’d think I need stronger medication but now you’re backThere you are perfecting your German       I never knew you ever knew GermanSchatz lass uns nicht über gerstern redenI had to catch up on a lot of you                                                  fool’s errand and one dayLiebe ist, daß Du mir das Messer bist, mit dem ich in mir wühleLiebe ist, daß Du mir das Messer bist, mit dem ich in mir wühleLiebe ist, daß Du mir das Messer bist, mit dem ich in mir wühle                             they were done with the firecrackers                                                                                            and I was about to close my eyes finallyThe English translation kills the spirit
You are the knife                         Yes I figured, I had always wondered who do I resemble more Kafka or Milena                       and who    well    you’ve kept yourself busy I see    don’t make me learn GermanThere you are still waking up at dawn                                                                   but I had brought four volumes of Richardson’s Clarissa from the libraryAnd then you fall back on me in almost no timeYou drove me to Faizabad, we on the front steps of whatever’s left of Begum Akhtar’s early homeWe skipped the Residency, you’d taken me to her grave in Pasand Bagh         I thought you’d like to visit her soonerThere I was till my eyes wore me out and I fell to you                                                                                     as she was on her way up the crescendo of Mere HumnafasWe are still sleeping in the car                                                I’m advised not to rush lest I’m run overThere are times I still look long out the window over the lopsided highway                                                                                                    but fool’s errand and one dayYou’re gutting a turkey for the two of us                                                                 you think it’s a mature decisionI chew all my nails till you make a mess of the kitchen and only ask me to ready the ovenI had a revelation in the morning before you entered the door                                                                                                Of bloodying your kitchen?That you should drive me to Yasnaya Polyana.

Aritrika Chowdhury is a student at Jadavpur University pursuing a Masters Degree in Economics. At 21, she is struggling to come to terms with adulthood. To her poetry is a refuge. Apart from overthinking everything, she believes that the utility of buying novels is greater than the utility of buying clothes and hence forgets the calculations of money in a bookstore. She resides in the city of Kolkata, India.

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