for oliver.

to the only oliver i ever knew,

On a Sunday early morning when I know I have nothing to do, I run through my wardrobe to put things exactly how i want them. Sheet by sheet, books by books, and a pile of clothes folded one at a time. It isn’t much but it keeps me occupied. Almost dismisses a perennial nostalgia for the year before this one and the one before that and all the ones before that.

In the background, somewhere around this time the church gets very crowded for the weekly mass, and if you listen carefully you can hear every word. but paying attention is not anywhere on my CV. So it is easy for me to ignore the checklist i found last week. It read in no particular order, a bookhouse, some films, an empty park, shopping.

In truth, it’s a small bucket-list from 2 years ago that i didn’t know i still had with me. i clutch to it, assuring it’s still mine, before leaving it where it was. Like a toy to a child, it tells me i can come back to this feeling when I want. I am allowed.

10 years from today, I will no longer know why the letter has a tinge of orange scented perfume but today i remember, and shayad(perhaps) it is still your favorite.

It is still only the beginning of the day. noon and sunset aren’t capable of this emotion. it asks me if it can stay, so i tuck it slowly under my pillow.
“here you’re safe.
here you can live.
with me again. in parts.”

I do not know what else to say, so I instantly dial home, tell mother what i ate for breakfast. and how the Bangalore weather makes it impossible for people to take cold showers. Your entire body would freeze.

Like the emotions. Lust at their core.





In pursuit
Of heaven I have found
the word, loop.
That is a repetition of an event
And again
Until I forget how your lips
Forgot the utterance of my name

makes me think singularity
Is the scariest truth. Loop: a queer
Innovation. We pick and choose
From a lineup, until
It is enough

It makes my heart stutter
And go wild. Heaven.
It is a feeling and I’ll stay here
Until it’s enough


-artwork by Ninad Sree



From the trees
I gather a handful of plums.
Today, you stare and point towards
the ripest bunch.
There is tart from last Friday.
You feast on it a little and then on
the sun I still have left to

On other midnights
when the light runs out
I sit down, stealing
from the stars.

and they let me.

Artwork by @xuanlocxuan



Standing in the last aisle at the store, I am tempted to pick some chocolates and maybe even a drink. I forgot to bring my groceries list with me and now I’m unsure about the kind of cereal my mother likes and if i am already on last roll of toilet paper.
This is new to me. Like flying for the first time, I am still reading the pamphlet that flights have on every seat with instructions on how to fasten the belt and sit upright.
I know you’d disapprove of me getting the ready made cold coffee at the store but I get it anyway. If you could see me now, you’d turn, look at me in my eyes, and probably in jest, laugh.
There are two people behind me in the line. A fairly old woman playing with her grandchild, and another man, with frisky curly hair, and glasses bigger than his head. He is unaware of the long line, and I am tempted to ask him to turn the music down.
But I realize that I’ve been staring too long, and that’s probably not okay.
I am forgetting you on my own pace. Presently, here, at the door of the supermarket, wondering if the man behind me could replace you. And if it would make any difference at all.
On other similar days, with time, I unlearn, sometimes while plucking flowers, orchids of roses, I dare to smell you in them again.




Can you see?
The rain imitates you.
Forces me to hold my breath
and anticipate this touch.

I am akin to
wild things
like rain on a hot summer day.

I can stand in the balcony for hours
Let the rain wet my hair
and slide down slowly
through my loosely hanging shirt.

Like your hands tracing their way
on my skin.
Rain feels familiar today.
As if I could collect you. All of you
in my palm.

Look above.
Even the clouds are jealous.



Winter was harsh last year. The kind that makes your lips turn white and forget what your lover tastes like.
I have come to accept you leaving, as changing seasons. And today, on the first day of summer all my plants have bloomed again. But that does not mean I have forgotten last winter.
That does not mean I have forgotten writing to you, and then hiding them back somewhere in old notebooks. It’s summer now, but every time I find anything I wrote to you, it all flashes back.
The same nostalgia that I try and avoid every day. In plaid shirts, and when I occasionally win a game on quizup, (only you were much better at quizzes). And especially on days when a mutual friend shares my poetry and I know you must have come across it too. I can only imagine what you would think.
It’s funny because it’s like having Alzheimer’s in reverse. It’s funny, because it’s summer now, but I know I’m not allowed to forget about last winter.