Sujata Bhatt


It’s a loud darkness tonight,
filled with the hard noise
of breath after angry breath.
I stare at the blank wall,
dingy and lizard-green —
it needs to be repainted
some other colour, you say, off-white, yellow,
anything but this green.

I learned to stare at the walls
in Maninagar in the summertime
when the lizards come inside.
Nights they lingered on the walls,
follow thick insects across the ceiling
while I squirmed in bed
entwined with shadows of leaves and lizards.
Their black eyes: round mustard seeds glistened.
And I stared at them, felt them snickering.
I stared, trying not to blink,
afraid they would plop in bed with me.

when you look at me
with your hard unblinking eyes,
the noise of flies and mosquitoes
gnaws through my ears.
That’s when my dreams become lizards:
delicate feet walk up my neck
over my forehead, through my hair, I can feel
there long slender tails trail across my skin
almost like those moist tendrils the wind blew
across my face the other day.
My dreams come and touch us,
like soft paintbrushes thick with colour,
like fingers wet with paint,
why not?
Let’s finger paint with all your tongues and lips
and sperm across our hips.