The Insomniac stops praying

Satya Dash

When you sneezed, I inhaled pollen like love. I did it out of sheer

transparency — an enthusiasm to forget my body was a solid thing,

an enthusiasm to swallow the sacred dirt another body accrues

and transmutes to glitter. The wake of my eyes was my biggest

privilege, gibbous pools for the honeysuckled ether to settle down in.

We watched as the rhythm of breaths turned sinister, the air growing

thick in decibel. Around, the walls of mosques and shops punctured

with shrapnel gleaming at daybreak, amaranthine like exotic fish confusing

fury with ecstasy. Those walls collapsed like loose curtains from the sky,

soon flowing like rivers of unidentified road. How they achieved in lurid

devastation, the oneness of gaze. Even amidst such rage, when I tried

to sleep, all I could think about were your supple wrists carving

from my wasteland, shoulders that understood movement and touch,

humble biceps you could press your interludes into. In those moments,

my body had known no mosque or temple, but simply the astonishing lather

of cement that plastered the walls of either. Now I saw both brick and mortar

yet touched none. The glue joining our tired cells was wearing off. At such a time,

it was damning to think of pleasure but a sunken heart finds it liberating

to sink further. Depth becomes a quest of finger to gauge the distance

hid by darkness. When the flesh didn’t disintegrate and nails started scraping,

the vultures turned away in shame. In the evening, the sky bled pyrrhic pink

to feast upon the desecration. My eyes wanted to touch yours when I saw

a couple of arms caked in dust helping each other

clamber out of the mountain

of rubble.


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