Squalor in My Heart

I see a cat astray
And the first thought that comes to me
Is how you two would have loved to play
I think of filing it away
Under things to say
When we’ll converse next
And I catch myself smiling
Thinking of your glee
And the way you’ll say, “Oh really?”

I have been in love
But it was never a place
I remember it was more of a feeling
My blushing cheeks revealing
All that I wouldn’t dare say
With others when I knew it was time to leave
It was never difficult to walk away
Hence, I persist
This wasn’t love, I say

You put up stories to lure me
At the ungodly hours we made homely
And the first thought that comes to me
Is, “Oh, are you okay?”
But I don’t say
Not out loud, not to you
As my concerns are in a fray

You are an eccentric man, my well-wishers say
They warned me, scorned me
Worrying about impending doom
Some even shook their heads in mockery
Still, none of the bad omens could keep me away
This wasn’t love, I say

At first glance you seemed a traveller, a soldier
Not someone meant to stay
Just pausing for some warmth at my fireplace
Though you claimed to be a brute, a raider
I now realise, you are quite the narrator
Your stories were music to my ears
Maybe that is why I danced to what I was only meant to hear

I unravelled like an unfinished knitting
This wasn’t by chance, it was my choice
And you, a red herring
I cannot find within myself the conviction to accuse you
I gave you permission, unafraid of what I was entering
Well aware of the risks of my fettering
This is not my temperament
For I have always been cautious
Too cautious even, some might say
I have been asked to not hold my heart in a little birdcage
For in the face of love, I had always imagined I’d cower
Hence, this wasn’t love, I say

You know you can reach me
But you attempt to deceive me
Despite my temptations, I keep away
I gaslight myself to keep aflame
A facade of fury above the fire of shame
How could I have been so naive, from the truth so far away?
It indeed was magic what you did to me
For only under a spell would I behave in such a way

‘Underwhelming’ was one of your favourite words
And I suppose my affliction to be yours
Made me associate it with myself over the course of our little soiree
Maybe I thought if I paint myself in your favourite hues
For a little longer you will stay
Not realising the muddy waters in which I dipped my brush were rather grey
Unaware I was offering myself to a rake

Listening to Lana Del Rey
Heartbreaks are essential, my consolers say
But that can’t be my predicament
As this wasn’t love, I say
So, I hope to forget your antics someday
For this wasn’t love, I pray.

Medhavi Gupta is a political science student at Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi. She identifies as a feminist and has a penchant for asking good questions. Her writings are a result of her curious and overthinking nature. She can be found as @me_dhavi_ on Instagram.

Featured image: Laura Vinck/Unsplash