The Brief History of Love – by Smitha Sehgal

I detest the weak strain of desire
The ache and thrum that bursts through my skin
This body of a woman waxes and wanes with the cycle of the moon
In strange delusion, I trample on the flower beds of old convent school
Sr Anne Francis my class teacher of grade 6 opens a grilled door to rebuke me, you say puritan nightmares,

Towards the end of our desire when you say you are dreaming
Of the sky inside me, I realize that I am a mere woman’s body
A vessel to pour gold of your versified validations, for, it is always about you
I did not stand a chance, not even once,
I could learn to grow silent, I could be a shadow, always under your radiating light

There are days of lost cadence when you hold the tincture of a moment
there, like that, between thumb and index, staggering within the trap of word
churning, I grow back to being a tree, shedding leaves of sea-flakes
bleeding into blue ash, jellyfish trapped inside this infinite road of celluloid
grief throttled in half face, holding back, tripping over those stars falling fast

A prized toy, soft and ripe in the sheath of red, piled on a cart
yellow of the lantern falling on the surface, the cadaver of fruit, worms of thought
crawling, the perfect female animal sleeping underwater, myrhh scented hair, green luminous nails, mascaraed eyes, promiscuous blue God, you hold out to me the choice of being many of your women mixing verses with seductive charm, When I wake up, this is not what I am, in the brief history of our love

I am not your coy Radha or devoted Meera,
I am but spiked words

Smitha SehgalSmitha Sehgal is a lawyer-poet. She writes poetry in two languages- English and Malayalam. Her poems, fiction, and book reviews have been featured in contemporary literary publications such as Reading Hour, Brown Critique, Kritya, Muse India, The Wagon Magazine, Usawa Literary Review, Parcham, Madras Courier, among others,and anthologies including “40 Under 40: An Anthology of PostGlobalisation Poetry”, “Witness -Red River Book of Poetry of Dissent.