litany

By Pluto Mehan

The lights are out and you have nothing better
to do, and so you put on his coat and step out
into the shower. You apologise, though he isn’t here
to accept it. the raindrops fall like pellets on your skin,
you want the fabric to protect you — you want to rip it off
so the water can cover every inch of your body,
washing away every sin, every time you dared
to hope.
You imagine the rain, kerosene pouring from clouds,
you imagine your tongue a lit match so you can die
for love the way you always have, so he can die only as a
fading ember in your mouth. But he doesn’t — he dies
in the claustrophobic wooden compartment of the confessional,
his eyes bright with the beauty of his sin. He dies
everytime you lay face-first into the bed and smother him with the sheets until
he cannot breathe, until it is morning
and both of you don your clothes to go to work.
He dies with every time he mumbles a half-hearted I love you
and accompanies it with a quieter but, every time you
seal his lips shut with yours before he can continue and continue
to love like there isn’t a hell at the end of it — in the room or in his car
or silently through every stolen glance on the streets.
And you watch your own reflection,
and there is nothing else but your face — every edge a little
less sharp — peering at its reflection in a window and he is
the man on the other side, and he is
an ember clawing at the flesh of your skin
your tongue a lit match.


Pluto Mehan discovered her love for writing when she was five and could only find coherence in thought by putting them down on paper, and later discovered her love for poetry when she realised there was no need for this coherence in the first place. She likes to write about love and (un)belonging.

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