I Want to Read

Suddenly the words have drained their colours
which have run down and
smeared my fingertips, and
stained my nails
causing me to recoil every time I bite them
in the anxiety of how I have lost
the most precious of gifts –

For I want to read a book,
in the dead of the night when you
pore over your work, so that I can
prop myself up in bed and read about
people in Petersberg, Kabul, or even
the ones around the corner,
for after all,
everyone is just the same.

And yet, every time I try, the ink runs down,
so do the emotions, the tintinnabulation,
and even the imagery of the cities
slip onto my palms and
I watch the stories slide away from me
only to form a locus of threadbare souls
that tried to live,
and did not die.

I want to find myself in the middle
of a story –
neither on the 4th page and nor the final ones –
as a symbolism to us.
Occasionally, I’d lift my eyes to see your
hair fall on your earlobe
and I’d then fall asleep
ensconced in the comfortable silence
you gifted me.

But I’m always on the 3rd page or the 10th
of stories and poems that run away
with memory
or company
or even the arrival of plain daylight.
I can never seem to finish them,
let alone catch them somewhere in the middle,
as they scatter themselves,
and I cannot close my fist.

I want to spend our nights
lying in bed and watching you intermittently
as I read and wait for my words
to come back to me
so that when morning comes
I can write poems about how your back arches,
and the circles on the wall
about how my mind searches
words that describe you at nightfall.

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