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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