Earth, I’m Lying When I Tell You

— Dipanjali Roy

The last time that I’m pinned down by a man, I’m twenty-three. Lying
on his new mattress on his new bed in his old room in his old house, we are
an almost. An accident. An anything gets me hard these days. Everything
with him is about factuality. The hard facts of the body now pinned to form.
Epiphany, tumbling hard against my sternum. Guilt, dripping down the slope
of his shoulders as rocks from a scree. I am so hopelessly in love with a moment.
I am so broken by its return. Paralysed by the parentheses, it is so easy to forget
the lesser woman of myself lying on his bed, lying in his car, lying about an entire
bottle of gin downed in my room after our fight in front of my friends at the bar.
Nothing to do with me, per se. I’m lying enough for the both of us. I’m refusing
to look him in the eye. In the brackets of blame, I imagine that his hand brushing
my ribcage is encyclopaedic. Unaffected. Pristine. He’s only looking for directions.
He’s devoted only to discovery. For eons unfolding, men have touched the earth
and found the right words to tell wonder apart from wound. Even here, just past
the window of his blue room, there is the hard cascade of laburnum pouring her
heart out to the ground in lavish racemes. Looking out the windows of other years,
now, I can’t remember the slant of his voice as a boy in his kitchen asking me why
I like the smell of cloves in tea. All of it ends when it ends. There. With the kettle
still whistling so hard on the stove. There. With the long shadow of our time tilting
against the slow sundial of my girlhood as woman, as wound, as a planet pinned
to the orbit of her days. Here. With the axis extending, I’m trying to remember
the sun in your eyes. Here. I’m lying when I tell you I’ve forgotten the way.

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