Of the Understanding of Love

“the poem which is the story of us”, “to R, who asked me to jump into the pool” and “of the understanding of love and other such things”

by Vandana Devi

Of the Understanding of Love

the poem which is the story of us

this poem is the story of us/
written

between two pieces of paper/
he talked about us as though
he is not one amongst us/
as far
as i’m telling the story, the talk is
about us, ie, you and me and him/
we
are involved in this convoluted

third paradigm/
fourth narrative
in which exists all at once the boy
and the girl and the other boy/

which in theory sounds as
tragically twisted as it is
on the plate/
served sour/
garnished with a sprig of jealousy
a spoonful of phobia, served on
the bed of polygamy/
the best

thing to do now maybe is to
simply take out the third cook
the me, who has apparently spoilt
the broth with too much hot sauce but
i was only trying to cover up

all the salt/
this tale has no ending
or beginning/
just a middle that craves
theatrics and hence pretends to just be
about skin on skin/
the electric touches
of the beginning or at least
the intense kisses of the ending/

this poem is the story of us/
like us

it seems to have crossed the borders
and now has raised its head in the state
of staleness/
the time has come for it
to end but my lines have come
to no particular conclusion as such/

to R, who asked me to jump into the pool

if only to shut R up or if only to get up from bed
the decision was made to jump into the pool last day.

so many things are so convenient to do, begging the
question as to why they haven't been made into habits too.

having not found the light switches, the pool along
with its surroundings were dark, adding to its appeal, to a me

who in daylight has seen the mermaid that lies beneath it.
stepped in, froze, slipped and plunged into the wall of water

looked up to see the dark blue sky patterned with white as
well as patches of light that my myopic eye strained to see.

not knowing how to swim, all i did was simply stand, then walk
for a while, watching the ripples in the dark water.

then climbing back up to the surface, i made to jump back in.
the first time, face first, the second time, sideways and the third

running into it. i slipped on the pool floor too and stayed under
laughing and trying to breathe all at the same time wondering why

i keep tripping and slipping on so many things. if only to shut R up
or if only to get up from bed, i’m glad the decision was made anyway.

of the understanding of love and other such things

of the understanding of love and other such things
that seemed to matter/
no one had any insights. no sense of
the essence of the primordial matter that seemed to be
it/
an undertaking of vast proportions. similarly/
quite
fanciful were the words one used to describe it. it could
be the heavy incense that left the room filled with smell
and smoke/
it tended to be the camphor that burnt
brightly/
then faded/
disintegrated/
disappeared. the nothingness
never worried some/
the rest wished for it to burn slowly at the pace
of a wick/
cotton continuously twirled so the flame stayed forever.
the breath that strained the blue lines on our wrists/
as we twisted
someone else’s arms so as to keep ourselves engaged in the
philosophies of the ideologists that we claimed to practise as
we went down on knees in evenings praying to existences we
pretended to not be attracted by/
was the breath in which we spoke
of several things of no consequence that we simply wished mattered.
to live inside the minds of one another/
to know for certain that
the two limbs that were intertwined could see beyond just faces/
live amongst the other in closed quarters/
not tearing each other apart.
of the understanding of love and other such things
that seemed not to matter/
people could speak days on ends/
on how sunsets were just reminders of the sunrises they wasted.

About the Author

Vandana Devi

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Vandana Devi is a 20 year old from Kerala currently living in Chennai, India where she is doing her third year of college. She likes writing because she’s no good at the talking business. She has been published on the Underscore Review, Foliate Oak, Girls Right The World and hopes to one day publish her own book of mundane things.