Waters of Time

Soft and charming, the silver rays of this January morning.
Floating in the air, cold ghosts of summer fire.
Nuzzling the soft bristles
of this red bottlebrush flower rocking in the wind,
a bee dwells like a baby in its cradle,
back and forth against the bizarre monument
of my wintery face, cheeks dry
and lips chapped. This desire to truly learn
from self-embarrassment I believe in but fear
placing my organs

in reasonable proximity with the cryptic thralls
of beauty. Unfixable—most
of my favorite things— curses
out my grandmother’s mouth, my mother’s scowl
when I have my breakfast
without brushing my teeth(I brush after!), my sister’s
hug when I’m leaving for Bangalore, or when she’s leaving
for her in-laws. I took years to admit
I grew up

in a dysfunctional family, took years to appear
confident while saying it, took years
to restate it gently with a slow smile
if the person I was in conversation with
felt a little dazed by the sudden heaviness of this fact.
I wish it didn’t take years
but I suppose there’s attrition involved
in dissolving the flesh of questions
into sweat and tears. Both, expressions of water
with varying degrees of salt and bite, I came

to distinguish when I happened to cry
while I was cycling in the gym and almost fainted. I was quick
to wipe my tears as someone fetched me water, someone
placed a hand on my shoulder and someone else dabbed
my forehead. I thought about changing
my gym but its proximity
to the restaurant I frequented
for the city’s most brilliant biryani changed back
my mind.
It baffles me how such randomness
sometimes triggers you,
sometimes saves you.

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