He turned off the lights.
The tangerine sky, the downward
t r a j e c t o r y
e a g l e,
and the silent scraping of nails.
My body – holy, ocean-like,
and the world: walls, blood, hands.
The single eye twitching in the corner,
and my bones coming loose at odd angles.
I touch myself where he touched me.
The soft, the brazen, the fleeting touch of a leaf,
the breaking and un-breaking
of tea cups, coasters and dry concrete.
I find no salt in my wounds, no clot. Rather, a clawing
longing to fill the air with sand, to sew up my skin with
a longing to make maps with blunt knives,
and surrender my body to water.
When we were fourteen, we declared that we could fly.
Yet, as the years went by, we grounded ourselves to our homes,
yet rootless where ever we went.
But I rooted myself
to the wet walls and
the soft earth, my limbs
fossilized in the moment,
and my arms-
dissolved under whispers.
When in spring,
when the weeds we grew in our gardens uprooted themselves and left,
when the birds came, regardless of hate, when the water rippled again,
when I turned to a crusade, my body – no longer a place where he touched me,
a war memorial
a museum exhibit
a book of fire
when in spring,
when we left our attics to take to the streets,
our clothes torn, our faces scarred, our bodies peeled of skin,
and these, these footprints of an earlier life,
that dream of doves, vanishing into a deafening cry-
perhaps, the stars will reign again,
weighed against a golden sky.
Smriti Verma’s poetry and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Word Riot, Open Road Review, DoveTales Literary Journal, Alexandria Quarterly, Inklette, Cleaver Magazine, Textploit and Yellow Chair Review. She is the recipient of the Save The Earth Poetry Prize 2015. She will be joining Inklette as a Poetry Reader and currently serves as an Editorial Intern at The Blueshift Journal.