Maria Uzma Ansari
I once threw a date and a tree sprouted
from it, the city celebrated its 378th
edition of pride, as the conservatives and
the conservationists marched together.
generation suicide, stuck in red lights and
headlights, jaded from standing in Ford’s
assembly lines. The metro stations have
installed barricades to hold back
humans who keep masquerading behind
the words of dead poets.
the manipuri dancer is in pain,
the swimmer’s day begins at 4 am,
the actress breaks herself like a yardstick
the girl brought her ptsd to school,
chugging and choking on cotton balls she
smiles through her depression.
the eloquent youtuber, with ‘that fake
accent’, has been walking into speech
therapy every week to learn good diction.
the perfect couple that lives down the
lane sleeps in separate beds, so that their
feet don’t touch but they laugh and fall
into each others’ arms as they put on a
show for a social gathering.
Inside a room, two people lie on bedrocks
with their sunny sides up. The no fucks
given is cool at 17 and not at twenty-seven.
the air pressure at ten feet tall is deficient
but oxygen masks don’t come down.
the room is steamy, the pressure cooker
is edging, there’s old monk on a tray
beside a mattress on the floor but these
are people who would prefer 509 grams of
peace as opposed to twenty grams of
cocaine.Frozen in time, rigour mortis.
Here, tan lines blend into self-harm scars
clocks know when people aren’t around
amphetamines and sleeping pills fall to
form a heap of debris. Irish goodbyes,
taste of sour handpicked strawberries
from the kitchen garden but
neither can pills for lucid dreaming nor
roses and champagne undo years of war,
so they pour denatured alcohol into
champagne flutes and down then with a
gulp. Beautiful eucalyptuses
can only grow on wastes
and contaminated soils
but I’ll still leave the gas on
in case you want to die.
Illustration by Dhanashree Pimputkar