[Poem] break fall by sethu nair


break fall


in the night,

when my mother wasn't home

an enlarging O

of a mouth gobbled up my face.

each time since, i would wonder

whose mouth does my face belong to?


how could what starts with a kiss 

disintegrate the intricate sinews, tissues, tubules

that until that moment,

held my heart in functional tact?


the many kisses since then

at exacting, disorienting speed

have landed me in endless pits of cunning sands

b r

e a ki

ng my f





to once again

swallow me whole, oust me back into an abyss


how alive!

these disoriented, throbbing parts feel


how lost 

in this tracheal dark, did

i opiate, dissociate and soothe myself into

delusions of what it means to

l o v e

another break, another fall

full of glimmering visions

and luminous loops

that begin and end and begin and end and…


although, also, somehow, always!

i land

in a pot of self-made salves

finger-painting my mind’s sky




frayed pieces of cord, soiled, brown, stringy

like the bottoms of weeds i have pulled out



i am 

extracting, gathering, securing,

arranging, weaving together

a bridge of sorts


Sethu Nair