Aditi Bhattacharjee

you are here but all I see is me slowing me down

for DK

i'd planned to clip my nails
it's been 17 days since
they are a healthy length of attractive now
i'd rather put electric blue paint on them
probably a first in decades

everything takes time

these days, summer seconds slow silently -
i struggle to get out of bed
this lack of inertia makes my body sloppy
i wash dishes at the sink ever wary of dropping some
water the plants with a fear of over-feeding gnawing at the back of my mind
stare at my cat waiting for treats, calculating how long till it lasts
look vacantly out the window, not a leaf flutters
chai cup in one hand, a cigarette in another

this standstill breaks me into tears

there are only 11 smokes left
there's whispers in text messages "this lockdown will extend"
i cry, and laugh at the stupidity and cruelty of it all
Fridays melt into Mondays and each hour looks the same
i take to making side braids, contemplate cutting some of it off
even baths are starting to be debated

a regular guilt trip looks like the
9 unread books on my night-stand;
that was not the plan.
an amateur hand at journaling takes priority.
what do they say? variety is the spice of life.
new recipes are googled and tried.
inceptions of poems are lost every day;
to call notes and making lists of things-to-hoard
in lieu to this lockdown

acrylic paints are splattered across
canvas boards bought on a whim 8 months ago, while
cobwebs gather like conspirators in unsuspecting corners.
this constant sanitizing is tiring.

everything takes time until it doesn't

my partner checks on my sanity out of the corner of his eye -
offers his hands to iron out the tension off my back
puts together midnight sandwiches in the kitchen,
while I watch Modern Family to feel normal again.

Dei is another word for God that
I learnt playing online scrabble.
is this obsession with word games
part of being grown-up?

most days it's a stress fest inside my head
from mulling over sales plans and life trajectories;
equipped with the coping mechanism of a touch-me-not.
but every once in a while, there's a late-night surprise,
that tastes like cheese and salami
on triangles of rationed over-priced bread
over-crunched in the toaster
and for what it's worth,
at least the sleep's easy.

I should remember to thank you
next time around.

ABOUT THE POET

Aditi Bhattacharjee is a sales specialist by profession and a poet by passion. When not in her day job, she is found cooking love poems in her head, most of them happen in Bombay, where she lives with her cat, Pluto, second-hand book family and a growing garlic garden. She is always wondering about things that no one finds worth wondering about like who invented the pillow and why even? or how much time is enough time? Did the ventilator come first or the window? Her works are upcoming in The Remington Review, The Banyan Review & elsewhere. Say hi @beingadtastic on Instagram.