I thought I shook him off this year.

Sometime around January they said, those voices.

crawling under the covers, over my bare legs.

Bruises dotting the sides of my thighs

– yellowed and pale – the blood is hot in my ears

but cold through my limbs.

The lights in my eyes dimmed

again some time in March.

The voices rang out.

I could hear him coming.

– you’d never hear him though, soft as a whisper,

padded soles of his feet sneaking up on you

as he leans over your shoulder.

My nails, they’re chipped now.

maroon drips down past the folds

into the matrix of my nails.

That bed is red too now.

I stuffed him down in April.

Beat him at his own game –

with self help books and satin pyjamas – but

A misadventure in utero

and he’s back again.

Knocking at my window when the fairy lights

twinkle to a stop.

Creeping through the cracks of my mirror

– while you all sleep peacefully,


in your own despair.

His arms wrap around my waist,

This time the satin isn’t slippery enough.

He’s spending the night.

His last conquest for the day.

He’ll linger here longer – rejection hot on his whiskied breath

– he’s teaching me how to snap rubber bands again.

If only I’d really forgotten.

He’s snoring besides me

I’m awake – entombed in his arms.

Captured by his smile.

It’s all so easy – sink back in he pleads.

Makeshift patches slipping off the wounds

 – one stitch at a time.

He’s not judging me though.

– He’s winning me over again.

We’re good together,

Him and I.

                                                                     ~Rhea Cawsi Dhanbhoora

                                                              Mumbai, India

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