Ashish Kumar Singh

A Poem Where I’m As Alone As The Moon

Here, let me tell you how
the moon looks, so you may know how
alone I am. It’s white like a rice ball
and loosely stitched to a piece of black
cloth similar to what my mother used
to clean soot from burnt lanterns.
From the window of my hostel room,
lights flicker in the distance—
of houses warm and roads swimming
with fish cars. Yesterday, in class,
we studied the theory of mimesis and how,
according to Aristotle, every art
is twice removed from reality. Now
apply it here— I’m living in a room with
a roommate I don’t care about, far
from where I was born, far from where
my mother now sits— dreaming—
in a city as far and distant as memory.
Am I not twice removed
from where I should be? Isn’t this poem
an imitation of the poem I read yesterday?
Now, if you are still listening,
is one’s loneliness even original? I’m sure
there are people who have felt
what I feel—so thrown away from all
the love that’s there. I know
I am not a bride jilted at the altar, but
his leaving still hurts, and all I want to do
is crawl back to childhood, to that state
of innocence where the only tragedy I ever
knew was the loss of my beloved kite,
cut free from the tether I held.
The only hurt, the hurt of a scraped knee.
Oh mother, what I wouldn’t give
to be in your lap again, to hear you ask,
What is it, son? and be able to point
                     to this place that hurts.



A Poem In Which I Ask Questions I No Longer Want Answers To.

In the late hours of the night, I’m thinking of you and where you might be as the moon like a sickle desecrates every cloud that comes its way. Tell me, do I need these endless shots of remembrance to pass this early dawn? Can’t I, for once bear to have nothing but my own company? Previously, I used to think this world to be ugly but now, I don’t. When I said, we can’t love here it's not safe we need a different world, you laughed, saying, this is the only one we got. And so we persevered, made a part of it for ourselves, cushioned with every soft thing we could find, and it was beautiful. Then, gods became jealous to see a heaven similar to theirs and took you from me. Tell me, how should I not remember you when all the softness I feel belongs to you? What purpose does beauty serve now when you are not here to witness it with me? Never did I ever ask Gods anything but this—to let us be. We were young and our love so new it could hardly stand. And yet They failed. Tell me, why should one pray? Soon, when the sun will rip the darkness and blood my sheets, I will be alone. I believe a lie that does not hurt is better than the truth that does. So tell me, if I touch things you have touched, like my own body, will I not touch you in return?



Ashish Kumar Singh (he/him) is a queer Indian poet whose work has appeared in Passages North, The Bombay Literary Magazine, Grain, Chestnut Review, Fourteen Poems, Foglifter, Atlanta Review and elsewhere. Currently, he serves as a poetry reader at ANMLY.