i. sonata in loneliness
in the beginning was the word,
and the word was with god,
and the word was loneliness.
i stare at myself in the blurry
bathroom mirror, at my body.
how do i get better? what should i do?
call papa on the phone? he has owned a body
like mine far longer, maybe he knows the secret
on how to make it feel less alone.
i’ve met loneliness in a
house that once roared, but only whispers run
up and down the stairs now. i’ve met
loneliness in a bed i’d hoped would kiss both
our backs until morning. i’ve met loneliness
in the absence of my father, who tries. i’ve
met loneliness in the absence of my siblings,
who try. maybe, absence is too strong a word
for those who try but are not near. i’ve
met loneliness in having no one to tell, tell
what’s going on inside my head.
i’ve dealt out loneliness as much as
loneliness has been dealt out to me
in the wilderness of my time here.
to all those i’ve made feel alone,
i split my hands before you,
begging your forgiveness.
that day i told you someone else’s feelings
were more human than yours. that day
you opened your mouth to speak to me, but
felt like you were screaming into
the void of a chasm. that day
you wanted to hold my hands, and i
moved away from you.
was i ever good to you? have i ever been
good to myself?
sometimes, my lips
tremble in search
of the words
for all the things i am.
ii. to hide the sea
my brother held me into his lungs,
told me the universe was no longer the universe for us,
told me gravity — no — a force stronger than all
that keeps us here, had won.
the last time i saw you, i remember braids. what was the difference between you and a sun? i remember glow. i remember light. remember laughter. remember life.
because grief is a carpet of hot coal underneath the feet. only takes a second. only takes a second. only takes a second, for hurt to come burning anew, when we stop.
we’ve learnt to hide the sea behind our eyes when a friend asks us to say something about you, and we tell them how you used to pray for us, always, and how those prayers are still being answered nine years on. we’ve learnt to hide the sea behind our eyes when papa tells stories of you, of how you used to sing of your love for him, but hide in the forest when he comes by. or of how you almost became a nun. or how your name could have been Yarabi. we’ve learnt to hide the sea behind our eyes when we get good news, and want to run into your hold and scream it out to you, make you proud, make you happy. we’ve learnt to hide the sea behind our eyes on days stray memories come fluttering by, the smell of your car in the evening. we’ve learnt to hide the sea behind our eyes on nights your absence chills and bites our bones. mama, we’ve only learnt to hide the sea.
what is time to grief?
today, we stop running.