I have no joys that are not yours, no
aches which are not yours, I too call myself I.
There are no rains, that I’ve not seen
turn into melancholy, sitting like a drought
on the window side, waiting for a single drop
to wash the air off your stains, but you
occupy everything, everything.
There are no afternoons when I’ve not burnt
brighter than the scorching sun in the sky
to light my own house and look for a touch of you
lost but breathing, shivering for the warmth of my chest,
your longings falling like tired embers.
There are no nights that I’ve not spent sitting
depleted and curled within a hundred layers
like a mongrel, trying to dig into the end of me,
where my grave must be, where my birds weep
to go to sleep.
There are no seasons when I’ve not looked
for the face of spring, how many years have gone
autumned, perforated, pining for dancing horizon,
to feel once what does a dead tree feel
when flowers break out of its emptiness.
I’ve ached too but they called it a manner
of a woman, an emotional freak, a damstrel,
whose tears the world can see is cowardice
and a man’s pushed down the throat is courage.
It is I who’s lost like the wind of anguish.
It is I who’s betrayed, once beloved
and in the end a bereavement.
It is I who has sucked air out of the body to check
if my lungs are breathing pain, in and out.
But they’ve counted on rolling calendars
seasons after seasons, your autumns,
your cold januarys, your storms of despair,
your abyssal, your suffering, your bleeding heart.
You are the pure heir of a family’s name,
soul bearer of another lioness to your beast;
and I a surpassed sorrowed gender,
whose heartbreak must end with a whimper.
But how will they separate from our mournful sky,
this I from you, you from this I. For if we were
a damaged ship, put together piece by piece
one last time,
I will still be I.
You will still be you.
We will still be us.
The first two lines of the poem have been picked from Kamala Das’s An Introduction.