What is love

They say

Love is simple, love is kind

I say

Love is convoluted.

Love is

My mother pretending not to like my favourite food so I can get an extra piece

My father constantly looking over his shoulder when we’re sitting on the scooter to make sure I’m still okay.

It is my mother waking up at 5 am to prepare lunchboxes for school

It is my grey hair on my father’s head as he sits late at night sorting finances into college accounts

It is soft brown eyes, furry paws and a wet nose ,sitting in your lap and warming you

It is pieces of your heart scattered all over the world.

Love is,

Me forgiving you over and over for the same mistake, knowing you will make it again

It is choosing to remember the best in you,after you’ve shown me the opposite

It is choosing myself over you, finally.

They say

Love is beautiful

I say

It is many things.

But above all

Love is hurting

Always hurting.



Half a second, an eternity

What’s the difference

Plant a seed

Open your window,

Just a crack

Wait for your seed

To take root

Years, months

Moments, aeons

Love takes its time


Hesitant roots spread

Like trembling fingers

Reaching out

Twining their way

Through the soil

In your veins

Nestling into the

Crooks of your soul

Days, months

Stamping themselves

In the dirt lanes

Of your memory


Dates, times

All those fiddly

Little details

First meetings

Final partings

Days of falling,

Days of breaking,

Days of dusting

The pieces away.


Minutes, hours

Spent together,

Their numbers looming

The tally of kisses

Trailing down your neck

The touches crisscrossing

Along your skin

Waiting to be counted

Like the stars

In full bloom

On an inky sky


Remember them all

Count them,

One by one

Ten fingers linking

Two bodies together

Tuck them into

Some dusty corner

Of your memory

How many days it took

To fall in love

How many days

For it to fall apart

How many days

Till you healed

Love, hiding

In the figures.


They say

It takes twenty one days

To form a habit

What they don’t

Tell you

Is how many days

You struggle

To quit it

Darling, I made you

My habit

And god alone knows

How long

Till I quit you.


– Gautami.






Sit on the floor and think

Weave me a cocoon of lies

Twist my sleep by its neck.

Papercuts ,flinches

Back on the floor


Lie to me some more

Till the truth is inside out

Back to front.

Steel your heart

Drag my manacled wrists back.

More lies

Piling up,smothering me

Fighting through legs and arms

So tangled I am lost again.


Cardboard sign from my neck

Use me

Extract, discard,repeat.


Plug in the dam with pebbles.

Back on the floor

Stare at the ceiling

Look at the cobwebs and feel like the fly.



It’s not you, it’s me

Once upon a time

A girl

Took your heart

Made it bloom

With the spring

Of a thousand

Fragrant flowers

Then she left

Leaving behind

A winter wasteland

Blizzards blowing away

Frozen petals

And happiness


A different girl

Came along

Trying to thaw

Your cage of ice

Words and poetry

Phone calls and letters

Slowly melting

An unwilling heart

Stubborn still

Not giving in


For the past

Never really leaves

Hiding in the shadows

Waiting for the dark

To creep up

Behind you

Curling its fingers

Round your heart


It’s in me

My fear

Of you leaving

My unwillingness

To let go

My stubborn will

Wanting to fight

For you

The way he wouldn’t

For me

It’s in you

Scrolling through

Old pictures

In the wee hours

Her face smiling

Frozen in a

Different time

While I lie

In the sheets

Beside you

It’s in uneven breaths

And clenched fists

On a quiet evening

As I lay

On your shoulder

Drawing patterns

On denim clad thighs


It’s in me

Caring too much

Fighting too hard

Holding too tight

Breaking myself

To be enough

It’s in you

Not caring enough

Pulling away

Holding me

At arm’s length

Safely distant


The universe turns

On balance

Equal or otherwise

Relationships are often

Skewed when

It comes to

Who cares more

Leaving the one

Who will hurt

Weaker, begging

While the other

Can pull away

Unscathed, unscarred


Isn’t it obvious then

My love

As the noose

Of caring

Tightens around

My throat

With whom

The power lies

Against whom

The balance

Of attachment tilts

My tears circling

Down the drain

While you stay

Aloof, away

Already walking

Far, far away.




Fly away,

Little birdie

Before they find you

In your cosy

Little hiding place

Your pretty

Little sanctuary

And desecrate

The peace of

Your cocoon


Fly away

Before they clip

Those snow white

Wings, staining

Ivory with

The scarlet

Of pain

Of forced restraint

Of the fetters

Sinking through

A fluttering heart

Pinning a restless soul

To home and hearth

To where they want

You to be


Fly away

Before they cage

Your spirit

Before they bind

Your wayward will

To shrink

To fit

The box they make


You are bigger

Than the confines

Of the boxes

They put you in

You are stronger

Than their wires

Caging you in

You are more resilient

Than the walls

They will build

Around you

Your song is louder

Than the gags

They will force

Upon your voice


Do not buckle

Do not stop

Keep flying

Keep soaring

Far above their

Fingers can reach

Watch the world

Unfurl under the

Flap of your wings

As you go higher

Roads will become

Winding strings

Of grey

Lights will glitter

Like stars on earth


The world is in

The cradle of

Your hand

Your destiny is

Not writ in the

Lines streaking

Across your palm

It is in your

Insatiable imagination

Hungry heartbeats

Flying feet

Wild will

And singing spirit

In the stardust

Swirling in your veins,

Buried deep inside

Your very bones.




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.