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‘Forbidden Child’ other poems by Vaishnavi Singh

By: Vaishnavi Singh


Infants smiling at the vacant corners, eating and sleeping.
Young boys feeling the death of an action figure, crying and being clingy.
Girls draping dupattas on frocks, swirling freely and breaking their mother’s lipsticks.
Infants grew into teenagers;
Reading poetry
Raising banners
Smoking weed
Questioning life
And struggling to breathe between expectations.
Boys grew into men;
Emotionally numb
Squeezed in the Subway crowd
Bruising their fingers with dollar bills
Falling in love
Burning photos of past lovers
And left dead by masculinity
Girls grew into women;
Wearing shapewear
Taking acne treatment
Speaking low
Partying loud
Working nightshifts
Justifying their political opinions
And carrying pepper spray in their handbags.
Teenagers imprisoned the innocent infants in cupboards.
Men abandoned boys behind closed bathroom doors that hear silent cries.
Women sacrificed the girls for an hourglass body and a picture perfect life.

In all the deleted words and torn out pages imprisoned are his memories
Printed on my fingers is his last message screaming his vulnerability?
The sun now conspires with the darkness to intoxicate me of my guilt
On the confluence of every dusk and dawn I’ve resisted to type down his history
I blinded myself to that Saree, liquor and forgotten birthday that now grips my spine injecting fear
He is creeping down my gut making me nauseate and puke his unsaid words and buried tears
I scribbled out not just June but that year and burnt my calendars
I walked his path, felt the dust, bruised my feet, collected his hidden agony
I visited the room where his body was hanging from the ceiling
He stopped breathing that day but my ignorance suffocated his soul long back

June 20
Half burnt birthday candles from my mother’s birthday smelled fresh of icing
My glare was caught by a message from my uncle
Tottered sentences and a cry for help masked under some habit of pretending
Blame on my memory negligence escaped the crime scene
It must have killed him enough to see his niece being casual for all the feelings
Within a week my phone vibrated again but on a different frequency
It wasn’t alarming but quiet embarking some storm’s conclusive passing
“He killed himself” my senses were numb I didn’t cry
I was rather stressed to take a leave and go to the place that held forbidden goodbyes
He went out, he sneaked in
His mother’s Saree that once protected him from the world dutifully did its job
It went around his neck and freed him from his existence that rejected his odds
His body hung still for two days
Everyone looked out for him assuming it to be one of his attention seeking plays
The dog kept quiet and didn’t move from the door
That’s when they opened the room that hugged his dead body and lost hopes
Gravity failed to ground his other worldly soul without his will
It succeeded in elongating his body that hung there lifeless and still
His feet touched the ground
His footprints are still visible
I never allowed them to carpet the sign of something that unleashed the bound
I didn’t see his body for I carry his living image
Wondering he just went to some long escapade
I went to the room locked the door sat there inhaling all that he might have thought
I placed my feet on his footprints
I touched the Saree that absorbed his last breaths
I drank the liquor that often delayed his desired mélange
I cleaned the fan that became the door of his death

Years later on the same day
I lost sense of time and space
My life was concluding
I was willing to abort the mission and leave this complex maze
I tried and tried and tried
My soul clung to my body indicated me not to add another unsaid goodbye
His death then crossed my mind
I cried how he died to give me life

I don’t mourn I celebrate his liberation
For I am living through him correcting what led to his immolation.


I fell in love with his vibes
A stranger he was, smoking insouciantly in the dark
Spilling his hands out in the rain he allows callow raindrops to read his fortune lines
I fell for an emotionally consumed friend
He was collapsing and I inhaled every bit of his tottering demeanor
Love didn’t bloom but dried up
Between me and my alter ego like associate
We stopped leaning in while laughing
I still cherish the warmth of his handshakes
I still wear those reckless raindrops on my bruised wrist
I still prefer his insecurities and arguments over country music
I still hold that moat like distance close to my chest
I often have rendezvous with haunting solitude
I wear his evil love on my sleeve
My animosity absurdity gullibility
It’s a tattoo engraved on my throbbing heart and its bleeding
Put this to an end
Heal my wounds with your seraphic love
Tame my demons and I’ll surrender my deceptions


I have seen ties burning down to clutches
For it was a bond that we cherished but now it holds me down to chronic grudges
I met a man who had tasted freedom
His shirt had the smell of mountain air and rebellion
His chest was bruised with the open air he breathed
But like mine his body was not made to be free
His arms were diaries embedded with souvenirs of wars
This man never slept and used to sing to the water on shores
He wished to narrate a story
But he was a vagabond when I was seeking glory
I walked through days, months and years in search of legendary allegory
I felt hands caressing my thighs and rejecting to tell their stories
I met many in search of love but they didn’t know of any
Serving their lust on my chest they scratched my injury
My heart was beating fast I misunderstood it to agree
Their drunk kisses tinted my lips and fueled me of animosity
I received letters that felt like music
Alas I played harp and the letters weren’t Irish
I ran from one doomed town to another in search of history
All I found was broken walls and tales of lovers dying in misery
I was in a town of grand forts and open skies
But I never fell for the stars they reminded me of forced goodbyes
I wrote epics I wrote poems and stories
But I never wrote an end I was a medley of rhapsodies
With the ashes of my rhymes I searched for a sea
Ashes in the water I lost the hope to love and be free
There I saw that same man building castles out of my burnt stories
He touched my crude epics and created a melody
I felt my heartbeat it was slow enough to kill me
I didn’t fear death as his heart was in sync with me
He looked into my eyes and found a lullaby to his lost sleep
His hands held my face and like a dove my spirit was set free
I never treasured malice for all who didn’t love me
They helped me seek this man and allowed him to kiss my poisoned lips with fidelity.


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