Every time I feel that there’s a body that is not at home,
And a mind that sits mindlessly on a yellow couch.
I have written letters addressed to the mind that has forgotten the smell of its presence in a room full of people.
In a city full of traders
I too have brought a lie home.
Not one but two; I think three—several is what I mean.
And fed those lies to myself.
Thus, swallowing capsules of optimism and wellness every other night
Which tasted like illusion!
Now that I had started believing in what they said
Perhaps it was all in my head.
So, I never stopped consuming lies, as if I were a sea losing sanity, a lover giving in to grief and pain
Yet that mind would somehow crawl under the bed and hide in there.
While the body that has tasted lies felt not feverish, it roamed all day and all night, attending parties at 11 in the night.
But, lies, you see, never satisfy your mind like how water never quenches the thirst of a desert plant
Like numbness behind the glittering face,
Hiding behind the city of lights.
This poem is an apology written to a mind that is not at peace with the body.
Who knows not if an apple can be trusted for an apple
Or has episodes of hysteria.
One who counts the number of tiles in a bathroom but loses count every time and starts all over again
One who never knows what it feels like when a word as simple as “NO” is spelled
Who looks at shoes while people chant happy songs of Christmas, Eid, and Diwali
I am sorry,
I am sorry.
For not telling you it’s okay
That it’s okay to cry
And not show up for days.
It’s okay to tie your laces the wrong way.
To make mistakes and yet not be guilty of them.
It’s okay to wear anxiety in your eyes like kohl on dark days
I will tell her that it’s completely fine to not lend a shoulder on days when yours is heavy and tired.
It’s okay to know not all the languages and yet know the language of love.
I have written this poem to call my mind back home.
Which has been on a voyage
Away from the body
Shifting from one hospital bed to another,
Not knowing why it doesn’t get along
It’s time, I tell her, “You are welcome back home.”
“Home without you is a heart without blood, a life without hope.”