Abhirami Nair

August 2020

Reading to My Little Brother - by Abhirami Nair (Photo by Annie Spratt).jpgPhoto credit: Annie Spratt

Reading to My Little Brother

By Abhirami Nair

three, tall, stoic, lucky bamboos stand against the wall
riddled with amber wounds now
feng shui fettered somewhere in its pose

‘lucky bum’ you call them
you and the sliver of baby fat 
under your chin
that took me back to a night some months ago

it was bedtime
our thoughts encased in the dreary dampness
of the night
a small body beside mine 
and strawberry toothpaste breath
slippery
on the hard-bound walls of the fairytale book
‘there was a boy who lived with his mother’ and so on
my voice, its frilly frock and all
lost somewhere in the brambles of your disinterest.

‘so you will be the first to die’
you say suddenly, your eyes still fixed on the page,
your lips still pursed
‘and I will die many years after you’

my surprise is quiet,
smirky,
you are young-and-unwise-y
childish thrall in my 
‘yes, I will die first’

and suddenly the night gains color
my smirk hangs limp in the air
yes, yes, yes
we lie like that in the quiet
till your fingers find mine
a wet kiss on my chin
‘I wish we could die together’
you whisper to yourself

and in that low lamp light
I loved your uneven haircut
and cavity-clad teeth
a little more

but I can see that your mind has already wandered
that the moment is already lost
you whine that you’re hungry
and I get up to fix you something.


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