I hope your next lover looks more like disaster-management lessons and mine, less like a catastrophe.

you implant subtle disasters
in the vacant pores of my skin
every time your brown-sugar hands
touch my desert-sand body.

the first time your arms brushed over mine
as you reached for the bowl of salted peanuts,
you left a two-point-five Richter scale
earthquake tremoring on my elbows.
which, my hopeless romantic heart mistook as
a gush of electricity induced by
the great conjunction of two star-crossed lovers.

your fingers tucked a violent riot
under my pushed back cuticles
the first time we held hands
across worn-out menu cards
scattered on the coffee-stained table.
and since then, I’ve known to cause
reckless roadblocks and senseless strikes
to protest against the
bridge of continental distance
between your hands and mine.

the first time i cried into your shoulders,
you held my mascara-ridden face in your palms
and placed a swirling hurricane over my eyelids.
your fingertips traced the shorelines of my spine
and it triggered oceanic tsunamis across my bones.
you kissed the tear-soaked corners of my lips
and my woodland heart caught a wildfire.

but then in the end,
the day our fingers interlocked
with each other for the last time,
you turned me into a drought-affected wasteland.
so now, i look like war
and the aftermath of it,
both at the same time.
and that is to say,
i hope your next lover
looks more like
disaster-management lessons.
and mine,
less like a catastrophe.

Aparna Nair
Aparna Nair