dream trip

If I cannot kiss your forehead,
place your tired head on my lap
and promise you a trip to Geneva
in the summer again,
                    without my friends,
                   just the two of us,
                   maybe we’ll tell mom,

then a kiss on my wrist where
your heartbeat meets mine
will have to do. Forever.
So many days and nights have
passed since I’ve said
your name out loud –
a denial and so deep
it has taken my voice
and rationality.  
I have resisted calling
out for you not because you
are gone, but because
you are still here,
and to call out for you is
to break that illusion.
(Death makes us all delusional,
irrational, magical beings.)

I admit,
since I cannot kiss your forehead,
or place your tired head on my lap,
since I cannot promise you
a trip           – to Geneva or otherwise,
                   but you would have wanted Geneva,
                   like you always did –

I have given up on almost everything.
These nights, you barely show up
in my dreams, but when you do,
the first thing you always do is hug
me. And in every dream, I am in a
reality where you’ve come back.
It is so easy to believe,
because you are still so real to me.
But since I cannot kiss your forehead,
or your hands – your beautiful
hands
 -, I will tell you
how much I love you when
we’re both alive in my subconscious.
I will tell you nothing has
changed. I will book the flight
to Geneva with my dream money
and take us there.
There is somewhere where you
still exist, and we are happy,
and I say your name out loud still:
                      Baba, you came back to me!
                    Now let’s go catch our flight!

a prayer

My creator:
You made me in your image,
carved me out of unconsciousness,
picked me out of a void
of nothingness – a long,
blissful sleep –
and brought me (screaming out,
to you) into this life.

You were the first thing
I prayed to
          – the only God I knew,
the closest thing to
divinity, before I understood
              divinity –
and even before religion taught
me what prayer was.

My creator,
my very first word was a prayer.
My first word was an act of
love.
My first word was an acknowledgement
of your holiness:
                       Mama,
                       my creator,
                       the goddess who gave me
                       life –
you made me in your image,
and his image,
                    a descendant of
                         mortal gods.
The only way I know how to
pray is still by
facing you.

the dying of the light

mama, i did not rage
when the light died –
i died with it.
i died with it.
a thousand deaths have
taken place inside me
and i don’t yet understand
how i am still here,
living.
when the light died,
mama, i died too.
not even a flicker left,
i was extinguished from
the inside, total darkness
in my every room.
this world is cruel,
you taught me, and i
learned that early,
and during,
and after, and
again and again.
repetition, always –
the message sticks,
the message always the
same.
i did not rage, mama,
or i did, but
it made no difference.
i did not rage,
or i think i was rage,
and then i vanished.
a big bang, and after,
not a new world but
darkness.
the light is dead, mama,
or is dying,
and there was nothing
and there is nothing i
can do.
the light is dead, mama,
and i think i might be too.

silence

So good at silence now,
I stumble through the world of the speaking,
a stranger again,
another home to be banished from.
Hard to miss, carrying my
solitude like that.
I know what a strange sight I must be,
a broken and fragile beast.
I know you’ve come expecting roaring.
How can I tell you it’s been days
since I’ve heard my own voice?
That even the moon looks away
from me now,
ashamed of what I’ve become.
But I’m so good at silence now,
I swallow even my explanations.
What a waste, you say, and I agree.
A small nod to let you know:
I’m disappointed too.
But this silence – and my fantasies
of nonexistence – they’re all I
have to offer you now.
Sit with me if you like,
for a while,
I don’t mind.
Leave if it unravels you.
I promise I’ll understand.

living with loss

he knows me well,
walks through my apartment
like he owns the place,
casts a shadow on every
corner with even a
semblance of light
reflecting off it.

we live together.

the closet is half mine,
half his.
he fills his side
with all my traumas,
color-coded and
freshly folded,
ready to wear.

he owns the
air i breathe, too
and charges me guilt on
days i breathe too well,

i tip him extra.

half the fridge belongs to
him. he stocks it
with my memories,
plastic-wrapped and frozen
in time,
ready to be consumed.

most breakfasts are
nights at the hospital.

for lunch,
he’s spoon-feeding me
beeping machines and calling
for nurses, sleeping on
the ICU floor,

he wants me nourished and
full

and i swallow every bite.

this is loss.

and you might have not noticed
him, but he saw you here.

he was the one that made sure
every kiss felt like our first
and our last, the butterflies
in our stomachs
fluttering but heavy with
dread.

he’s bigger now that
you’re gone, too.

this is loss.

he knows my name.
and i know him more intimately
than i ever wanted to.