Stardust Underskin

By Sumit Shetty

breathe heavy on my chest
where storm clouds brew
a concoction of sweat and
lies– harder, you hiss
and dig a sharp talon
into the lower stratosphere,
moving down my ribs
looking for breathable air

the scarlet sun trickles down
your fingers, bloodies
your lips and you kiss
with the sharpness
of a sword, carelessly brandished,
drawing more blood,
more sunsets than I cared
to share–

you dig deeper
pricking the ozone,
an act maleficent,
but like a true explorer,
you don’t stop when
nature is turbulent and
doesn’t like to talk about our future–
you dig deeper

you’re breathing hard; you can stop
but you won’t, in spite of me insisting
there is nothing out there – in here.
I’ve cultivated this vacuum with
years of broken promises,
the smiles are on
the surface; listen, please…
no one survives out there – in here

you don’t stop, you dig deeper,
and at my event horizon, I break
and galaxies rush out,
vacuum fills with exploding supernovae,
planets collide, the stars flare up;
my universe tending towards chaos–
and I lay foetal, waves of insignificance
washing over my flesh

I turn to my side, the pillow lies
empty, the blanket’s folded back–
you have found escape velocity;

and I lie there,
your trails crimson
all over my body
and you satellite,
my stardust stuck
deep inside your nails.

Sumit is a Pune-based web developer and writer. He has founded the web portals ‘Webisoda’ and ‘BrownPant’. He writes poems and short stories and has had them published in The Yearbook of Indian Poetry 2020-21, The Bombay Literary Magazine, The Alipore Post, Unlost Journal, Gulmohur Quarterly. He is an organiser with the Pune Writers’ Group and is currently working on a science-fiction novel

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