Poetry at Sangam



WHAT YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW by Sharanya Manivannan

If I sought to ruin your pleasure, I would describe the landscape:
            how he praised me in all the ways I am not like you.
      I would offer you the cartomancy of my body like a fable, a mirage

of smoke. I would complicate you as though it was I who had been
            your lover, instead, and you who now walk the earth with my panic
      at your earlobes, startling the emptiness of your pockets for an alibi

for my name. Instead, I will tell you, you who have never wanted to be my friend:
            he and I were made only to be lovers or to be adversaries. And now we keep
      time in pulses, unbalanced by equidistance. I will greet you with the

apologies of a season of half-yield. I will tell you, softly – he is yours because
            there was a six of hearts at his gate that morning, the card of the deceit you
      can live with, but here: I offer you another telling, a path of flight, intelligent

weakness. He is yours because he did not know how to reveal his hand, how else
            to outplay the pretence that we had never happened. He is yours because he
      trysts with elision, and I am too full with lacunae to seduce with the same.

He is yours because I give him back to you with a capmangoe of fidelities:
            He kissed my elbows as we fell asleep. His palms were all fate lines, and
     they runed my dreams varicose. I calligraphed his eyes with the tip of my
     tongue. Against my nakedness he kept them closed.


(first published in Black Fox Literary Magazine)