Aishwarya Sahi

New Year’s Day, 2016

I’m rather cold in my sky blue sweater
and a little girl tells me I look like my father;
which makes my throat constrict
and tongue loll.
My lover is a dwarf at a party
where young girls accost him
and ask favours of him. Of course.
The year ended badly but there was comfort in it-
a cheese sandwich and cocoa milk.
I sometimes feel very misunderstood
and pick up cudgels
to grind the marrow out of my own skinny bones.
Accessory to crime;
couldn’t read Pasternak-
too dull-witted to be O’ Hara I suppose-
no, no more
of this tepid speculation;
no self-portrait appears in these convex mirrors.

I’d call myself- what? – a self-indulgent paranoiac,
you know I love you, don’t you?
The idea was to initiate communication,
however collapsible, not thwart any
possibility of it altogether.
Like that ludicrous proposition-
what was it?
This unreliable tool- memory-
the casements remain unhinged, you know?
The impossibility of meta-communication;
and that ‘The Joy of Suffering’ bullshit
made so much sense at the time
To think I was even loved!
However faintly, however dodgily.

The demon lurks in the mirror,
my face a contraption, so hideous,
I am sure I cannot be loved anymore, at all.
Would I could-
would I could.

Every obedient little dynamite knows this-
when you dish out poems looking
as rubbery as I do,
you’re bound to stash them in
dusty drawers.
Recall the fictitious idea of being
a grown-ass woman at 16.
You’ve got a salacious tongue
and an appetite for misery,
augment every argument
with vitriolic incapacity.
The idea was to write poems titled
‘Ars Poetica’ or something
by twenty-one
and master the Keatsian art of
Negative Capability
and disgorge the self
if anything remained at all
and not indulge in too much
idle speculation
and swat off flies adeptly
and not draw comfort from seedy Creative Writing contests.
In retrospect, I was quite the fool,
only not as ugly
(The idea reinforced by two toddlers).
The mirror, of course,
is eloquent too.
I don’t quite look
the part of either poet or muse anymore.
Just my luck,
brown fingered karma chameleon
that I am.