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
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.