She was a whirl

When you first saw her

Her soul

A canvas of

Vibrant colour

Hope shining gold

Her smile glowing

Like the light

Of a thousand sunbeams

Hidden ‘neath her skin


But blended in

All of that

Was the blue

Of reserve

Of old pain, fading

Dissipating, melting

Into healing scars


She took your

Breath away

You, with your

Soul in shades

Of gunmetal grey

And the red-brown

Of rust

And dried blood


You touched her

And suddenly

Your soul was alight

Greys blending

Into yellows and orange

Of sudden, unfamiliar bliss

And the bright gold

Of budding hope

The blushing pink

Of love, blooming

With the heat

On her cheeks


Her love was red

Ripe, rich

With veins of gold

Little streams of hope

Slipping through

That this time

Things would not

End the same way


Yours was blent

With your greys

Of disillusionment

The lilac of distance

Of reserve

And the brown

Of walls standing strong

Around a beating,

Battered heart


But you painted

Over the lavender

Of your love

With the brush

Of indifference

Obliterating, hiding

Deepening pinks

With the harsh brown

Of growing reserve


Making the colours

On her canvas shift

Blue bleeding

Through the hues

Of bliss

Paint in one soul

Colouring another


It’s in the rainbows

On her pillowcase

And the kaleidoscope

On her best friend’s

Damp shoulder

Painting landscapes

With the ache

And heartbreak

Churning within


And the colours

Begin to chip away

Masks hiding

Marks of the past

Slipping away

To allow the present

To leave its scars

The sapphire of sorrow

Cutting rubies

Out of her soul

Leaving rivulets

Of the pearl-grey

Of realisation and

The scarlet 

Of bleeding regret


Now her canvas

Shines no more

Vibrant colour fading

Into duller hues

Gold fading

Silver rusting with

Salt water

Ink blotting out

The starlight

In her eyes

Colours painted over

With the dull white

Of apathy

Waiting for time

To paint

A new masterpiece

On her canvas.





It’s not love.

It’s not love

You tell yourself

In the noise

Of a school break

In a little garage

Paper notes and

Restless scribbles

Rainy afternoons

And parade practice

Roses made of

Soft tissue paper

Young hearts

In love with love

Petering away

With time and distance



It’s not love

You whisper

Heart fluttering

Cheeks burning

At a dimpled smile

At a hesitant look

Chits slipped into

Borrowed books

Cycling in dusty bylanes

On winter mornings

Sunlight glinting off

Shiny spokes

Fingers tapping

Furiously on limited

Text messages

Until one lets go

Begging, begging


The bitter realisation

That people leave


It’s not love

If you walk away

Only to return

With the taste

Of regret in

That shy smile

Trying to hold on to

The slippery silk

Of the past



It’s not love

You tell yourself

To calm your

Restless heart

Reluctant to fall,

Reluctant to care

Panic crawling

Up your throat

As everyone tells you

To stay away

Making the same

Mistakes, a thousand

Times over and over

Bunking classes

On sunny afternoons

A waiting bike

And cruel serendipity

Plasters and sofas

With Doctor Who and

The strum of

Impending heartbreak

Playing softly

In the background


It’s not love

If you can walk away

Every single time

If you can break

The same heart

Multiple times over

Leaving behind scars

And the lingering

Unease of guilt



It’s not love

You whisper

With your words

Draped in the

Distant hue of regret

Of the detachment

That creeps into

The tangles of

Human ties

Infatuation may burn

Like a sudden flare

Snuffed out

At the slightest breeze


But if it’s love

Shouldn’t it linger

Shouldn’t it stay

Like the shadow

That dogs your

Every heavy step

Holding onto

Trembling fingers

Running soothing

Circles on a

Shivering body

Holding you together

As you crumble

Into infinitesimal

Broken pieces

And kissing your fears


– Gautami.





Unasked, unanswered

They say

If you love someone

Let them go

But what if

You do

Love still persists

Clinging on in

A tired heart

Pumping with every

Restless beat

Asking, begging

For everything to


Go back

To the way things were


They say

It’s not love

Unless you fight for it

But how do

Sandy shores ask

The churning tide

To stay

Even when pebbles

Long for the kiss

Of salt and breeze

Even when gravel

Aches for the

Silken touch

And warm caress

Of sea foam

It will linger

Teasing, sighing,

Before pulling away

Yet again.


How do you

Lay down your hand

Cards on the table

Put everything

On full display

Your heart on the

Chopping block

Waiting, waiting

With bated breath

For the inevitable slice

Of the executioner’s blade

To fall again


And the questions

Flood in

Why is it always

Me fighting

Why is it so easy

For you

To let go

To walk away

Why is it always

Me begging

Me having to prove

To fight

For you to stay

Questions that

I would rather

Not know

The answers to

For ignorance is bliss

And perhaps

I would rather live

In a Fool’s Paradise

Oblivious of the

Damocles’ sword

Swinging over

My neck

Than let the world

Take away

The last vestiges

Of my poor sanity.


So I lie there

Stuck in an endless cycle,

A vicious paradox,

Too close, yet

Not close enough

Too distant, yet

Not far enough

Loving and longing

For a stubborn heart

That will not give in

While mine own

Waits and wants

In silent agony.


Beating, beating

Holding, clinging with

Some stubborn strength

God know it’s tiring

God knows it hurts

God knows it

Tugs and pulls

In exquisite ache

Bring out the scales

Take measure

Of the balance of pain

Hold on

Or let go.







Ask me not

To change

To mould myself

I am not the stream

Coursing quietly

Through shaded paths

I am not the river

Coursing, flooding

Over muddy banks

I am not the water

That fits into

Every glass

You pour me into


Ask me not

To hold myself

Back into shade

While you bask

In the glow

Of a thousand spotlights

Do not stunt

My growth

My blossoming

By cutting me off

From my sunshine


Ask me not

To be silent

To hold my tongue

To keep my words

In callous check

Do not cut off

My restless voice

Do not gag me

With your vicious words

And bitter tongues

I am not the murmur

That will be silenced

I am the rumble

Of the earth itself

Commanding, demanding

To be heard


Ask me not

To cover myself up

To shield the canvas

Of warm skin

From the greedy gaze

Of a twisted world

My body is a sky

With my imperfections

Glowing, blazing

Like the stars themselves.