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by Ankush Banerjee

(For S)
Why does it have to be the airport –
a space clotted with
business suits, attendants waiting with placards,
the peculiar sadness of empty luggage trolleys
–where we gather loneliness from each other’s
bodies like discarded secrets?
It is the urgency, I suppose – everyone having
‘somewhere to go’ and only so much time –
check-in, security, boarding punctuates each line

To meet you and feel cut open
like fruit, like a suitcase that bursts open while you
collect your boarding pass – shatters narrative,
slicing its progress of check-ins, security
boarding with a knife as sharp as tongue
we return to the line with bag and baggage
we do so after she tells me why she can’t
afford another heart break, her hand on my chest,
slowly absorbing the quickening of the beats
like sand feeds on water,
I should have confessed –
for you, I’d risk one

We embrace in short, hurried bursts, like lightning,
like machine-gun fire,
the smell of her shampoo causing tremors in my skull,
her forehead a playfield for mad lips.
Long after her aircraft is 30,000 feet in the air
I remember
she was wearing blue shoes –
the color of possibility,
the color of the sky.

unnamedAnkush Banerjee is a mental health professional and Ethics & Organisational Behaviour instructor. He published his first collection of poetry, An Essence of Eternity (Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, 2016). His poetry has appeared in Indian Literature, Muse India, Eclectica, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, and elsewhere. He blogs at

[Image Credit: Devika Lal]