Past Tense

i. lost space
we fall in love when we both decide that we don’t like airport bookstores: too sterile, too polished, too alienating for those who treasure the tales in the spaces between the black curlicues. we wander through cobblestone streets, savoring street side apple tarts and laughing like children in summer. we discover what secrets taste like in a dusty, amber-lit secondhand bookshop where novels have pages ripped out or eaten by worms or love rhymes scrawled along the yellowing margins. we invent our own happily-ever-afters for the characters whom the authors had left behind as we run through a universe of shimmering streetlights, chased by the villains we had imagined into life, the night air alive with anticipation.

ii. over the rainbow
in another city, we walk hand-in-hand, past painted mannequins and toy shops, their French names melting on our tongues like chocolate. you offer to buy me lingerie-soft lace, the shade of a shy blush, the one i wear in my far away, sun-kissed beach at the edge of my dreams. our conversation is suddenly awkward now, incoherent; someone’s tears are on my face. a streetlamp peeping at us from the corner, is stuttering, ashamed. the alleyway is half-dark, i can almost make out the lewd graffiti inscribed on the wall behind you, before my skin burns as your lips kiss my forehead, like a guardian angel from a faerytale. we don’t remember how we reach the bridge and we don’t care. the stones can crumble and the dark waters can swallow us whole if our universe wills it so.

iii. view beyond
you’re beautiful in moonlight, reciting Rilke’s poetry to me and to the starlit jubilant heavens above. our gondola is swaying gently in the nighttime breeze, and we are sure that Rilke knew all the secrets of the universe, the answers to the loneliness and nostalgia that had stitched themselves into our hearts, like an ugly embroidery. but for now, we don’t need the answers, for we are finally pulling apart those ancient threads, one by one, carefully and lovingly and releasing them into the air-wisps of colored smoke that swirl and spiral into shimmering fireworks, dazzling the mythical city awake.

iv. elements of an adventure
we lie side by side on the cool mossy forest floor, panting heavily, our fingers entwined so tightly that if the Beast chooses to return for our bones, we will go together. through the canopy we can make out the Northern Lights-the iridescent blue-green patterns of luminescence, glowing and glittering like the sky of another world. a snowflake lands on my nose and we believe it has journeyed all the way from a different universe, a good omen. we promise to wait here till the Beast finds us again or the snow buries us with tender cruel love.

v. down the rabbit hole
when the world is falling apart, we’re high up in an aeroplane. we know this is the moment, the moment where one of us grabs the single parachute and jumps. you tell me, in your musical, mystical voice that i’m the chosen one, i am the storyteller who writes the epilogue. i created this universe, i reveal to you, and therefore i must be the one to stay behind, to be the one who does not wake up, because we both know what this falling means. but you were always the cleverer one, the more beautiful and reckless and when you push me out and i fall through strange galaxies and aeons of empty space, i wonder how, how could i have misimagined you so much. perhaps you were real after all, and everything else in my real world is unreal.

 

 

About the Poet:
Archita Mittra is a wordsmith and visual artist with a love for all things vintage and darkly fantastical. She occasionally practices as a tarot card reader.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/archita_mittra
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/camelot_queen1996/
Website: https://thepolyphonicphoenix.wordpress.com/

 

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