but didn’t i promise to fall in love

This evening my sister pressed me to write poetry. Maybe someday, she said, the stars will rise once again on me (we were discussing Lang Leav). Last month my friend commissioned pretty words set to even prettier artistry (it’s for our batch yearbook). I said yes. As always.

What can I make of it? What can I make of me?

This pen leads me best when I write about love. People, places, opportunities. Seconds stretching into looped centuries; love. A single moment etching fractals in the mind; love. Cooling breeze at match point, eyes unraveling souls across a street. Still love. The hand liberates itself. A sonnet, I’ve always believed, must write itself.

If not love, my hand writes about stories of hate. A teenager’s rebellion, the feminist’s fury. That same vicious forsaking set to an almost Sisyphean yearning. Reflections on ink reflecting on paper –to love, to be loved, to be in love.

Deep inside a drawer of forgotten things (mainly old chargers and expired cards), I bury that pulsating warmth under the dry leaves of winter. A polaroid of an empty tent. The first of two movie tickets, no strings or even memories attached. That moment in the backseat of a stranger’s car. Your condo, or mine? (It was never mine). And a pressed flower, an unexpected gift. Freely given, quietly torn, slightly discarded. That song also stays here.

Life is poetry in motion. I pack it into bite-sized pieces.

A restaurant check with the notes on our split. The notes of a confession filtered through three sets of ears. Somehow another, another. Impotent eyes, more unfortunate ears. And three letters, worn out and distressed, folded thrice and thrice again. Read and thrown and then kept for its phantom heat. For cold and colder nights, I rekindle the ghosts of the rest. They burn away.

I have never received a poem.

To write this post is to scrub the rust off that drawer. To risk its creaking hinges (hidden mostly from the excellent ears of my most excellent mother). My hand perseveres. To throw away the superfluous, to keep still the beautiful: old heartbreaks and its fading edges, these negative spaces warping with the gravity of the new.

I have never wanted for a poem.

But I give my words too freely and unclearly. These letters, like this promise, is not for you.

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