Bachelard says that a poetic image has no credible origin, or rather it surpasses all its origins. I am very interested in how memory nudges towards a syntax that can contain it. Some things urge that they not be said plainly. We have to invent a plane to situate them, where they can make their little gestures of meaning. On the other hand, syntax makes its own demands, imposes its own limitations, and situates the memory in a new light. This poem is the first time I have found the balance between the two. Also, the fact that this poem deals with a significant physical distance between two people, where language becomes a vessel for everything; intimacy and understanding alike, makes it deeply personal for me. Many of my important relationships have been stacked up against significant physical distances and I keep attempting to find a language that can contain and describe that experience.

and so we made love or maybe just talked about it in the dimmed light of your bedroom. My kitchen. Your face flickering like a static of light from a dream of almosts. We were always up against it. The wifi. Your flight schedule. My mother. The guilt of not being enough. Time, a chip on our shoulder—the future hunching over itself like a man who outlived his spine. I don’t like remembering most of it. The specifics wear me out and memory is a carve in the bone. Angles converging in the rib. Scratching and rehashing themselves like a novel going nowhere. But nowhere scares me so I try to name things to contain them. Map them out on the floor beneath my feet. Smash the slant of light clean on the concrete. My therapist says none of what I tell her warrants a prescription unless I am lying and I don’t know how to translate the aftermath of want—which is still want—that a guy going nowhere wants it all, all at once. And I am supposed to write it down. Not the all, but the specifics. Clutch the velocity of thought. Seize the panic in a procedure of breath. Block the escape routes. Yield nothing to the slatted light dream in the back of my head. So the fore of my skull and the eyeballs burning. Skyline a gesture in the vague. In the cut of my heel the smashed glass glittering—gullet a clog of mucus and language. Language loyal to itself, slithering in the nerve, inching for some debris or dream to scatter its syntax on. So we did make love because I know we talked about it—your sun bleeding on the brackish water, my moon scattered on the reeds by my kitchen window. Across three time zones you said you’re kissing my forehead and I said you’re only doing it because you have to. And you said hush and crawl outside the mind and its mirror and lick this breath of light with a naked nib, beyond word beyond thought, a curve beyond intention, a sort of death and the time goes nil. My finger unknotting the tangle of your hair. Our limbs tugged in each other like the comma of a lost language. I asked you how long will it be like this, this litany of words in the wake of flesh, this gouging of oblivion—this gesturing at the throat of want and never quite breaking it open. Whatever you said next dissolved in the static, then a curl of wind and your voice quivering I am coming I am coming I am coming

Abhinav is a graduate student residing in Delhi. His work has appeared in trampset, The Deadlands Magazine, The Remnant Archive, Gulmohar Quarterly, among other forums.



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Bughouse, Shauna Friesen
The Genie & Me, Rosalind Margulies
Why Are You Still Here, Jona Whipple
An Entirely Different Girl, Linda Woolford


Green Geode, Danielle O’Hanlon
Galaxy, Emily Rankin
Beautiful Fighters, Lena Zycinsky
The Way to Hammamet, Vincenzo Cohen
Quiet Spring, Keely Houk