Fable of a Mayflower

Painting: Ceyx and Alcyone by Richard Wilson, 1760s

I. My eyes trickle sand and sweat and seasalt

she is an April girl and her island
is overgrown with watercress and
flamingo fishes. her nipples smile at me,
bits of salmon sun dripping from her lips
uncouth

after my starved, half lidded eyes scan past
her soft red mud underthighs, I veer into her
eyes and see the ocean. I can not afford to
drown again, so I close them sickly portholes
and let the sun dry up my tears instead

II.She stared at me till the sky broke open

she cracks open few coconuts and we slurp the
virgin nectar and we let the raindrops kiss our naked
skin. she hums ditties and lullabies only a mother could
hum, her brazen fingertips run all over her belly bulging
like waves and lemonflowers

it is when she intertwines my coiled hollowed digits into
hers and tiptoes into a cove layered with pink debris and pond
scum I realise I have known her before. for inside lies a
skeleton, which is barely a skeleton, for its skull is smashed
to bits and miry worms tear off dregs of rainsoaked flesh still
hanging by the ribcage

III.My memories creep back as leaves blush amaranth

we made love on a mottled autumnal carpet and she giggled while
I sucked her areolas peached with perspiration. the earth had crumbled and the oceans waltzed astray. from afar drifted hushed voices of bearded men frigid with frugality and foresight. to them we were damnable bloodworms feeding on sweat and semen

and gore ,while they excused their woebegone, desolate pride to
law books and zephyrs from primrose canopies. none of them had known the wet aching mouth of a woman craving a fortnight’s bliss. none of them had spent themselves on distant dreams of bumblebee lips. I felt spit settle down my collarbone and tasted blood and clinks of skull and clasped her waist underneath me, melting

IV.The graves are done and the only mourners are snowflakes

we let ourselves be draped in myrtle and seaweed and fasten
barbed icicles and make our sturdiest dig. the child lies unborn
motionless when I brush my tongue along her waning navel.
my tongue is cold and dormant and my hands ache as I warble for
the babe to wake up to whiffs of

fossilized plumeria. she pecks me not on the torso. not on the lips.
I have never felt so unaccustomed to forehead kisses before.
I hold back frozen, gnawing at my grave. and hers. her eyes are jagged an insane shade I have never seen before. a bluebird
trills, then she’s a breeze that never has been. I lie down, wooden, and wait for spring and the wildflowers

Previously published on: Poems by Ritoshree Chatterjee with Illustrations from Subarnarekha Pal — Plato’s Caves online (wordpress.com)

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