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Definitive Packing Tips: The Emotional Baggage Edition by Sohini Dey



Grief lives in a bolted trunk

Cut-outs from calendars, girls,

glossy, golden haired, licking

ice-cream off their noses

your five-year lactose intolerant self

ached so much for the sweetness

In a journal, you scribbled

poems the neighbour called trash

he was 30 you were seven,

As you were young, stories were waves

in your (idea of a) mind when your brother

met ghosts that was a story your school swing

was a story when your mother sat hunched

over utensils on a cold December night

that was a story

Memorabilia of those who left

friends you lost and outgrew

A scrapbook that asked your best

day and worst—you left it empty

Your first love left no gifts to store

no heartbreak, not the first or

the second, the third left books you

regret having read as you grew older

Gradually, the aches grew stronger

not just your fractured foot that put a halt

on your ghungroos and now sends bi-annual

reminders to your body unlike

poems that compare heartache

to storms (these poets don’t know you)

mediocre clichés your heart ached like

a migraine—hereditary gift—when

another left you afraid of ghosts

‘this is surely worse than a headache,’

your migraine protested

So you have kept at it, hoarding

the trunk with live objects and memoirs

you couldn’t live with and couldn’t

throw away like the bangles he gave you

a pair lined with pearls and a chunar

to drape your undressed 27-year-old self

crumpled letters tears curtailed

prose black balls of anger

An assemblage you tucked in corners

and put a lock now you are curious

to see if the jewels whisper in longing

and old sheets crave your ink

It is, after all, your personal Pandora’s Box—

torrents of despair and a trace (perhaps) of hope

 
 
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