empty except for _______

i’ve been hanging mismatched smithereens of life on my bones, some days
when you break open
splinters of laughter
in my gut, the emptiness
walks itself out the door.

I’m sneaking into my own body like a stray cat,
the floor embossed with footprints of ruin;
you’re sitting on the ceramic table-
all night you were painting the walls grey so they’d look less foreign.

I’m complaining about the hollow sunflowers,
the sun hurts. i whine hurriedly, as if i’ll run out of
things to point at- watch your face, still; just there.
no dangling phony metaphor to look presentable,
but poems, they sit on white tablecloth with forks and knives;
poems, they never look presentable.

i’m running around with blood-soaked confetti of words to cover up
all the cavities popping out on every inch of my skin-
you’re slowly breathing against my neck;
i have no words to dress up the moment with.

all this poetry doesn’t keep the abyss ashore,
the waves tremble on my veins;
midas touch, but everything disappears.
now you know, why i’m so scared of holding things i love-

for the last time, from dawn to the sagged midnight i collapse on-
I’ve spent a lifetime knowing abandonment intimately.
i still don’t know how to name the absence of emptiness, except for
you.

meenal jhajharia