There’s vomit leaving my stomach and my eyeballs are about to burst out of their sockets and
my forehead strains with the labored breaths of a palpitated heart. And no, I don’t need a man
with strong fingers and a warm chest to cup my temples sweaty with loneliness. Words have held
me when a body couldn’t. No, I don’t want a throaty whisper in my ear with an arm around my
shoulder and a body that fits into the groove of my waist, leaning against the wall sat on the tiled
bathroom floor. I don’t want him to hold my swollen face and stare at my quivering lip and tell
me, even with the snot in my nostrils, that for once – for once, it’s okay to stay in bed. It’s okay
to cry when my body is tired. That it’s okay to say, sometimes, I’m not okay. I don’t want him to
kiss the red pimple on my cheek and tell me I’m beautiful with my untweezed eyebrows and sexy
in the way that sometimes my hair smells of nicotine.
I couldn’t want that. I shouldn’t.
Strait of Malacca
The sea, the stink of frying chicken, humid air -
bubble tea, two vodkas and a locked door;
too much perfume, frizzy baby hairs;
freshly shaven legs, and clothes – on the floor.
Mown grass, the stuffy nightclubs, neon signs;
two naked bodies under the showerhead;
light fingertips memorising the lines…
Everything’s a passport. Most of all, your bed.
I remember he liked the smell of lavender.
I remember he liked fast cars.
His wood-colored flask in his fist in October…
Screeches of you s c a t t e r e d in the burning stars,
I look for you in whirring engines and bouquets -
anything to reach you, even my sodden ashtray.
What My T.V. Taught Me
That the angry red smatters lining my cheekbone
need to be doused in ointments that smell of alcohol
That the faint black hairs sprouting in my cupid’s bow
should be tweezed until my lip is numb
That the tiger stripes on my breast
and the tributaries running down my thighs
and the dimples in the skin of my bum
have two choices –
or jeans even in a Delhi summer.
That the size of my waist
will give my father the permission
to stare at my plate,
That a jutting collar and sharp hip
will make you happier
than two waffles and icecream with strawberries.
That the mirror you hate is necessary.
if you pinch the skin above your waistband,
you will know rejection.
Brinda Gulati is a final year Creative Writing student at the University of Warwick. Her favourite poem is 'Funeral Blues', she loves the smell of old pages in secondhand bookshops; her favourite account on Instagram is @jasoncampbellstudio. Brinda has lived across continents and in different cities: in Delhi, Singapore, and now in the UK.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.