today and i didn’t plan time to wallow
in your absence, so i was splattered with
the lack of you again, bathed in loss so sweet
i almost mistook it for your hands
running down my chest. i can’t help
the cringe my face coils into when i hear
silverware scraping against porcelain.
or the way i dig my nails into my tingling
calf to coax it out of numbness. i flinch
when the walls crack their knuckles.
i don’t have a reflex for you. i’m stuck
in this hellhole where phantom hands
send chills down my body in the way i always
wanted you to touch me. when the white of
the snow sheets slapping against my window
catch my eye, i prepare to converse with
the ghost of you. the hairs on the small
of my back rise in the outline of your
handprint— my body still a snow angel
you keep coming back to make.
Nila Narain (they/he) is a queer Tamilian poet and creator studying computer science and creative writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They have previously been published in Serotonin Poetry, giallo lit, and perhappened. In their spare time they like to sing, dance, and stress-craft.