by Aparna Nandakumar
He was peeling potatoes in my kitchen
with the composure of a king.
The dark blue sweater sighed in defeat
and clung to his shoulder-blades.
My fingers itched to trace
a gossamer web on his wingless spine.
The most blessed love is unrequited love.
Unsaid, unkissed, it lingers within the throbbing pulse,
rarefied to its purest abstract form
(like a peg of Jim Beam undiluted by water or coke).
Even the beloved cannot dim its brilliance.
Like a silken scarf tied to a dancer’s wrist,
waving and weaving through the desert sand,
lost in a music not of its making.
And, flesh! How much better it is to slowly simmer,
enfevered by the slightest curl of his smoke-stained lips
or enmazed in the topography of that one fingertip-shaped spot
between his moustache and the corner of his mouth,
than to count blood-moon days, fumble with latex,
and to imprison passion in a few muscle spasms
in the interval between dishwashing and the afternoon nap.
“Love is the experience, not the possession,”
I mouth. That boy leans back,
slumped against the chair, and in a lightning burst of clarity,
I sense from shoulder to elbow to tapering fingers
the crooked line of his arm under all the Park Avenue glory,
resting on his denim-clad thigh. I burn and burn
for that boy who said “no”. No firelight ensues
to illuminate the world; the glow stays within.