From when we were flowers

Poem by Vaishnavi Radhakrishnan

I pick up seashells when I’m near shores  

and store them in a sandalwood box.

Every now and then I hold a shell from the box 

to be swallowed by the memory of a sea kissing my toes, 

salt on my tongue, hair tangled with sand and

ocean waves in my ears

When my best friend was moving to another country 

I made him postcards pasted with leaves 

from all the places he loved here 

just so that whenever he missed all things home and his heart felt heavy 

he could look at those postcards and feel one bit closer to home 

I click pictures of sunset skies day after day 

trying to capture the orange-yellow-lilac-pink spillovers up there.

I watch a sunset and I learn what it is 

to feel full, to melt upon another’s arms 

and most importantly

to wave a graceful goodbye 

My best friend and I, we are not ordinary lovers of the rain.

we send each other voice notes of nothing but the pitter patter of droplets

from our terraces trying to bridge the physical distance between us with sounds of water  

and on days when our withins feel droughted of each other’s’ presence 

we go back to listening to what the rain sounds like 

or maybe we hope to hear each other’s beating hearts

When I take pictures, I tuck flowers behind my ears

only to recall moments later not as dates or days 

but rather, as flowers. 

Shoe flower was the day I shamelessly delved into one too many chocolate ice creams after arguing with you about how butterscotch was supposed to be the better flavor 

Frangipani was when we sat on the rooftop to chase a sunset but instead we shared silences under the rainy evening sky 

Gulmohar was the day we met.

Take me back to when we were flowers. 


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