In the rubble with nerves hiding sparks,
in the nest of sleeping explosives,
again it is you.
Again you are here to prove something
by doing something unasked for.
You build a place for warm tea,
for all our shivering ghosts to haunt.
You place the chairs that are not chairs
but buckets that cannot hold anything now.
There are chairs that are lying around just fine
but you don’t want them.
You don’t want the old purposes eating away
the beauty of all that is left behind.
You console the ones holding onto what is no longer there
but you don’t want the ones who want a way back to what it was.
You ask us questions with your bleeding lips
you want us to answer with something real,
not just words.
“You are cruel”,
you laugh when we say that.
You make us leave everything we are
just so that we can finally sit on empty buckets
thinking about the hands we cannot hold,
thinking about hands that are no longer hands.
“The city is no longer burning”, you tell us
as we place our empty glasses in front of our empty eyes
and tell us it is fine if we don’t believe it now.
“Sleep. Dream and stay for a while with the molten and bombed,
the lost and the dead that still have your heart.
Take your time.”
As we lay awake in our heart-wrenching grief,
as we lose ourselves to your favorite world of sleep,
you stand beside the fire
that keeps us alive.
You stand beside the fire
that is not actually fire
but your heart
that burns like sun.
We wanted to tell you, “You are kind.
You are too beautiful for this world.
Have our heart and burn it instead.”
But we couldn’t .
We knew these things were easy only in words,
that these were things we couldn’t do, yet.
That we have not smiled and laughed with bleeding lips,
helping while being hated.
That we were too selfish to be you.
I am stacked with all that belongs to you
and nothing that you have feels yours.
It is as if you were busy finding things
that didn’t look like you
and hoped that if you surrounded yourself
with all kinds of right
then your fault that people talk about
could find a mirror to fix its face.
you just wanted to welcome everyone in this mess,
like you welcomed me,
and leave us in this ocean of objects and words
of overwhelming meaning and beauty.
So that after an absence of million years
that ticking clock forgot to register,
when you come back to find us
and ask us how we take our tea,
we could see your meaningless broken smile
as the only hand that can save us from
losing our sense of self,
losing the idea of what we are
that we had barely put together a downfall ago.
Once we are done with the ritual of tea,
as I leave the room with his cup and mine,
I leave behind my shadow with him.
That is his favorite part of his evening
and he is all too happy to talk to a quieter me.
He feels my shadow is somehow better than me.
He finds it more understanding
and more similar to the feminine company
he always wanted in his life.
Someone who knows how to listen,
and who knows when not to think.
Someone who would look up to his words
with the certainty of truth
and would be the first one to realize his specialness.
I can understand where he comes from,
it is tiring to impress everyone all the time
fearing when we will falter, when we will fall in their eyes.
I can understand, even when I don’t want to,
for even I have wished for the same things
that only an imbalance of power or naivety of a lover
can give me.
I’ll sit down and tell you
how many times I have betrayed your trust
by being a person that you don’t know me as.
And you tell me the same.
But can you assure me,
that we will sit here and keep talking on
about other things again?
If you can’t answer
and if you don’t want to know,
then probably we seek more than answers from each other
and truth probably isn’t our cup of tea.
For I want you to keep looking at you
the way I do now
and facing reality seems like a big mistake.
She looks at the clock.
The time tells
in 4 hours her husband has to leave,
she woke up too soon.
She wakes up and looks at the clock again.
In 20 minutes he will need his daily tea,
he sounds bitter all day
if it is not the first thing he sees.
She will have minutes to cook what he likes,
to check his ironed clothes and polished shoes.
Few more seconds till the door closes
leaving her in his house,
surrounded by his belongings,
and with the clock that has no plans for her.
and sits till she can’t feel this sting.
She looks at clock once again.
9 hours more for him to come back.
There must be a Russian word to describe what has happened
between us, like ostyt, which can be used
for a cup of tea that is too hot, but after you walk to the next room,
and return, it is too cool; or perekhotet,
which is to want something so much over months
and even years that when you get it, you have lost
– “Letter to a Lost Friend” , Barbara Hamby
In that house that stands
on the border of two hearts,
where as your eyes scan the room
I became one of the collected belongings.
I found your curses and blames
hidden in odd places.
In the bottom of a tea cups, of tea made too sweet
In the peels of an apple left on tables.
In the picture frames full of strangers.
In the list of unanswered calls.
In the names you murmured in your sleep.
Where I ceased to belong to either world
and belonged just to you.
And it made me sad.
In that house
Where the promises feel the lack of ‘forever’.
I took my last breath
as your love.