Vertigo, by Abhinav

That last thing is what you can’t get, Carlo. Nobody can get to that last thing.
We keep on living in hopes of catching it once and for all.
—Jack Kerouac, On the Road

What is to be said
                                  of the days when you feel nothing.
The blank of the paper tearing
                                                                  through your eyes.
                                    You float
a film of foam over sleep
                                          but never really get there
and then you’re awake                               again.
The dust of your room s p i l l i n g
out of the windowpane as dawn dips
its feet in. Your bones refusing
                                          to come together like words
on a page that resist meaning. The glass
and its shards s e t t l e d in your skin. You try
to gouge it out, but it’s so dry that it doesn’t
even bleed anymore.

                         This is what you gave up everything for.
Well, everything was gone already and this is your
                    this place where the light doesn’t penetrate,
where words only mean something
when you have walked away from them.
The painting on the wall—its lush green moonlight,
                                   that you didn’t take down
when you rented this room, your mother
                     says it isn’t any good,
to let things l i n g e r like that
                                          in a place where they don’t belong anymore,
but it’s your life
and you’re waiting
                            for an eye to crawl out of its womb,
to speak the language of those
              who lived here before you for an eternity.
It’s a crevice
                                               that you can cling to;
The oblong wharf of ancient mahogany,
over the body of water
                                        like a dinner table,
for the formless whispers
of a forest haunted
                                     by the memory of those it’ll birth.
You swallow the black box
                  and drive to its edge
hitting the brakes is sacrilege
                                       and suddenly you’re in the lake, and you never learned
to swim. So you watch yourself
                                                               s i n k
in the green night. Algae eyes and watery lungs.
                 You go so far that the language bursts open.
Look god in the eye
and realize that there’s just one thing
                                                                         at the haunt of it all,


Abhinav is a graduate student residing in Delhi, India. His work has appeared in The Remnant Archive, Gulmohar Quarterly, and Tide Rises Literary Magazine among other forums.

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