a poem by Aanavi Malik

Hold those you love,
For they might slither away
One-minute bamboo and concrete
In your parapet
The next
Listen to their heartbeats
When you hug,
Embrace their fervour
Rhythmic breathing
The way electricity lights up
The bulbs in their arms
When they try to get away,
Fetter tighter.

Keep those you love
Be blanket like, comfortable
Like star gazing
With a comrade
Even when you cannot feel fingertips
When your nose goes numb
Fear clogs under your fingertips
And body parts are missing
Falling off
Use car keys and board pins
Maybe even a blade
But when you suspect
Them going colder
Be warm

Seize those you love
You might lose foot
Flying in frenzied hurricanes
Death may be the next building
Or clocktower
But with love even death
Is maple
Don’t recluse yourself to bad music
Religious insanity
Cauliflower noses
when the tornado hurls you around
Cartwheel, Ferris, or carousel
Clasp their hands and maybe
Do not look down

Carry those you love
To shade
Do not give into artificial photons
Artificial faces
Artificial emotions, colours
Don’t let the speaking of big words
Announce superiority
No matter which the abyss
It is an immeasurable chasm
All abysses are downfalls, waterfalls
Protect them from waterfalls
Sunshine, loud explosions
If you feel them slip
Don’t smile

Hold on to those you love
towards the funny
For humour is a chiseled neck
And love is foolery
A quagmire
Those who do this lose their minds
their winds and fires
The unhinged combust spontaneously
Blow off heads and
Leave behind clouds of smoke
When it blocks their sinuses,
Trickles down their nose
Help them breathe.