Sometimes, when I smell saffron, I think of you
before I sneeze:
How your knees were a map
of the Underground, made of scars
from tripping on your way up the Himalayas.
“Altitude sickness,” you said with a wry grin
when you couldn’t sell me a story
about a Bengal tiger.
You are stick-thin, four pounds lighter
than I, eyes the color of the sky over
the Taj Mahal. In my language, mahal
means both “expensive” and “love.”
Loving you has proven costlier than
plane tickets, more enduring than
an atlas. You take me everywhere.
You are every country I have never been:
party islands, passionfruit.
Would you tan bronze along the Gold Coast
or merely burn?
I do not yearn. Instead, I see a shifting sari on the street
and am forced to recall your glassy eyes
glittering in vodka light; how drunk, your breath was always warm and sweet.
Hungover, you were prettier
than a girl–fevered flush and rouge lips and eyes still purblind blue.
A tiger would have eaten you
alive, love. Instead, I do.
I devour every memory of you, then spit it out
into a pre-digested jumble of mixed metaphors, mad ramblings
of a madder writer, a psycho never-lover
remembering the disappointment of our Tripartite Border:
Drowning at the intersection of the Indus and the Amazon.
Another first draft. Definitely have to rework this one, because the ending sort-of rings false for me. Comments, please? Getting really revealing with my poetry. Am I turning into Taylor Swift, cashing in on the broken bones of failed (one-sided) romances?
(If so, where is the cash?!)
I wanted to begin this one with a dedication, but it didn’t sound right at the beginning, so I’ll leave it here: For Albion, in memory of an imagined affair.