Submissions open for Wingword Poetry Prize 2020

"Nothing."

Antara Sathe

The dock creaked under our pressure as we laid down on it, our legs dangling over the edge. We looked up at the cottony clouds as our fingers intertwined, the dusk beginning to wash over the blueness of the sky. The bees buzzed by us as they drifted around, choosing which daisies to sit on. Avanti's eyes widened fractionally and her lips parted as she drank in the beauty of the scene above her. She closed her eyes with a smile tugging at her face and squeezed my hand.

I stared at her, unable to take my eyes off the way her brown hair blew lightly with the breeze and how her eyelashes touched her cheeks and how her lips were pulled in a soft smile. I gaped at how the dappled sunlight fell on her face in shapes that danced with the wind. She drew a shaky breath and turned on her side, and smiled when she saw me looking at her.

"What?" She laughed over the sound of crickets chirping as I smiled back.

I squeezed her hand once and turned back towards the sky, eyes scrunched as the summer sun shone brightly, almost threatening. Avanti giggled as she looked at me squint my eyes trying to look at it. I wanted to answer her question. I was tired of underplaying the love I have for little things like these: the love I have for the way brown eyes gleam like honey under the sun. For the way ladybugs sit on periwinkle petals. For the way sunflowers look at the sun when it rises. For the way I know I will treasure these metaphors for as long as my heart beats.

I knew that I'd relive this moment with her in a few months to come. Lying under the biggest tree in town with leaves now red and golden. On the river dock as she catches me staring at her and asks, “What?” with a smile on her face. But it'd feel different. For when the first leaf of autumn would fall from this tree and on the lake, disturbing its surface as ripples would form around it, it'd announce the demise of summer.

But I couldn't tell her the truth. So like always, I chose to give her the answer I knew wouldn’t need an explanation and said, "Nothing."

 

This work has been published in Beetle Magazine's June 2020 Issue. Read the full issue here: https://issuu.com/beetlemag/docs/june2020

Illustration by Dhanashree Pimputkar


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