besides oranges, i would peel my skin for you

by Shruti   Dec 27, 2023

they inform me without fail that desperation crawls on
fours at my front door like a starving dog whimpering
to be let in; but they do not know desperation like i do.

it’s true that i would lap up all the blood on our floor if
you simply look at me with tenderness. it’s also true that
i would open up all my vessels if you say you’re fond of
crimson. and i understand it sounds nothing less than
barbaric, but this is the way i know, so please let me.

my mother tells me of all the other ways to tuck a person
in bed with little hope to mould me into a creature that
someone other than her can love, but nothing helps if i’m
not picking at my skin or liquefying my organs out.

but none listens either when i deny desperation’s stance;
desperation is only a sick child occupying my least disliked
seat on the third floor of the nearest medical centre while
waiting for her 21th shot of the week. her arms are bruised
but she was never told that she could give up. desperation
is the first i have nurtured and so when she holds out her
little hand from three countries away, i feel it limp and
empty, parting the air in my bedroom.
i know desperation, and this isn’t her for i’ve buried
her in my left heel the moment i saw you.

this is but devotion; the kind that isn’t theirs, the kind they
didn’t bared their skin to or slept with under the open sky.
so when i walk the pavements at night with its tongue
wagging near my throat, they shut their eyes and name
me desperate. and oh how i wish i was her because she
does not know exhaustion.

but tell me,
for how many more lifetimes do i have to explain
that this is all i know?

i understand it is terrifying.
i’m sorry that i’m terrified too.
but i still wait for you in my dreams the way i waited
for everyone else to not flinch at my unbecoming.

the truth is, i will wait for eternity if you ask me to.
but you will have to wait longer if you want me to
unlearn the way i love.


sharodi h.


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