Yesterday, I ran through a park, high-fiving strangers
in costume. We reassured each other that people
who stared were jealous. We enjoyed each other.
But tonight, the midnight pianist who lives upstairs is silent,
and my roommate has been asleep for hours. Even the mice
have tired of their games. On another night,
I’d have put myself to bed, promised these words
their turn tomorrow. But ever since my friend’s sickness
swallowed her speech, I cannot think in future tense.
Do you remember the first slipper the sea sucked
off an unsuspecting beach—that blue disappearance?
Do you remember how secure the sand felt before?
Do you remember shoulders unhindered
by favourite ghosts, twilights when eyelids sealed
without glue? Do you remember waking up
in untrembling rooms, those sure steps we took? Remember
when the clock’s swollen hands pushed time forward? Before
the ice in our chests, the goldfish that swam there?
This poem was one of the winning entries for the Srinivas Rayaprol Prize, 2011. It was first published in the March 2012 issue of Muse India