Monday, July 30, 2018

"Thank You for Goodbye" by Aparna Sanyal

Thank You for Goodbye 
Aparna Sanyal

"Decay" Watercolor & Ink on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
I asked if we were okay,
you said sure. 

A tiny gouge of me was lost—
a fingertip, 
a flaky bit of scalp,
an eyelash clump.
a leaking vein.

The red rails on my skin were not cut, 
but a debt,
paid for the question I asked on repeat:
Were we okay?
This imprint of okay, I carried in my hands— 
pressed into my palms, 
nail moons that brought night 
dug from its lined landscape. 

You posed far away for photographs, 
smiling. 
Here, I lost food.
It returned sometimes 
on a bilious tongue, raging into ceramic.  
I lost my stomach to my womb
in stubborn herniation. 

Months followed your okay replies. 
In trickles and dabs, I lost light. 
How careless of me to flicker thus, when
I should have guttered out. 

When your Dear John letter came, 
I found it in my others folder, 
hiding. 

And at last, 
after the okay of us ran out, 
past every suspension,
shouting, then whispering, then keening, as it went— 
I lost fear.

Poet's Notes: This is a deeply personal poem about a heartbreak that happened years ago. We were both young but deeply in love. We could not grasp that the relationship had begun stuttering out months before we parted. When the final goodbye came, it was a relief.

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