Harnidh Kaur

Harnidh Kaur

Harnidh is currently pursuing her her Masters in Public Policy from St. Xavier’s, Mumbai. Her first collection of poetry, The Inability of Words, is slated for a 2016 release.

Underwhelmed

He tasted like the cake your
mom baked for your thirteenth
birthday, when your friends came
together to throw you a surprise
party, and you were in a daze,
and you felt like the only one the
camera’s flash lit, and the crackle
of the magic candles was the
soundtrack of your perfect teenage
debut, and it was a day you bragged
about for the longest time, till a
bad fight with your childhood best
friend ended up with her spitting
words at you, “It wasn’t even a
surprise, your mom knew you’d just
be heartbroken”, and you
were seventeen when that happened,
and you pretended to laugh it off,
but as you sat at night, flipping through
the photo album of that fateful day,
it all seemed to refocus, and the gifts
seemed forced, as did the smiles, and
you realized that the cake you loved
was burnt at the edges, and tasted of
bitterness, and almost broken hearts.

War Games

My mouth is my weapon-
my words, my ammunition
and my teeth are sentinels
that guard my tongue from
spilling sounds that could
harm, and the bite marks
on the wet, whipping flesh
are reminders of everything
I’ve kept myself from saying
only because I knew that
the bullets I fire will ricochet
and leave open wounds, much
like the holes in walls of posts
meant to guard, and I stayed
that way for the longest time
till we kissed, again and again
and you grazed your guards
against my most dangerous
gun, and you bit down, just enough
and just so softly, marking over
all my battle maps with the thin line
of crimson you drew from me,
and you left me with tumbling
words, and painful recoils
from harsh attacks, vulnerable
and hurting, yet finally free.

Seasons

I poured winter into you
and watched you become
the December sunlight,
and the steam from the
coffee mugs I held in my
hands, and how my fingers
cramped against the cold,
and you warmed them up
because you knew they
pained me so, and you
became the morning mists
and the crunch of the dry
leaves on the ground, and
the smell of bonfires that
we’d sit around, and plan
for the days we presumed
would come, and you were
the frosted dewdrops on
the grass that tickled my
feet, as I ran on open grounds
with your presence chasing
me, and you were the smell
of roasting groundnuts that
permeated my very being, and
when you left, I tore off all my
clothes, because they felt
like they were suffocating me,
and I couldn’t wrap scarves
around my neck because they’d
tighten themselves like vices
that wouldn’t let me scream, and
I felt the summer loo whipping
against my skin, and all I could
think of was how your lips were
icy against mine, and of how you
took with you, my favorite time.

Companions

A boy and his little dog
sat at the edge of the
world one day, and he
dangled his spindly legs
off the edge, and his dog
crossed his paws with
seeming delicacy, and they
both looked out into the
swirling space in front of
them, and counted the
galaxies, and dying stars, and
swirling planets, that one
saw in technicolor, and the
other in greyscale, and the
little boy and his little dog
looked smaller than they actually
were, and the perspectives, or
the lack of them, on what
lay ahead shook him, and the
little boy turned to his best
friend, and asked him if they
were ready to jump off and
start the new day, and the little
dog rose, his haunches coiling
as he nipped at his master’s
hand, for to him, the little boy
was the largest, biggest, and
most capable man the world
had ever seen, and they both
flew off the ledge, and the
leap led to the most beautiful,
astounding, wondrous discoveries.

A Tall Sip of Water

Dragonflies remind me of skin
sweltering, simmering summers
melting into pools of aquamarine
sliding into hazy afternoons spent
in bed, the wrinkles of the sheets
curve into the curves of me, my
spine wrinkled around the musty
spines of wrinkled books that
curve words into the crevices of
my mind, and evenings that smell
of jasmine and hum like the thrum
of cicadas and chirp like the whine
of crickets- primal calls calling out
to mates, to mate and celebrate
the vitality of heat, hot, humid, heavy
air pulling down on leaves, drooping
wilting, withered, weary, worried, it
seems, till the taste of lightening
flashes on my tongue and lingers,
leaving little laments for lost longings,
and the skies open, drenching, draining
dryness out of my skin, and the
dragonflies dance around my head,
a diadem of diaphanous dreams.

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