Aphrodisiac

by Ananya Sahoo

Artwork by Maham Noman

TW: Sexual assault

I. 

Aren’t broken lips aphrodisiacs? 
It’s date night and I wore your favorite shade of lilac lipstick.
See? It matches my left eye perfectly. 
And Tuesday’s ‘discussion’ is peeping out shyly
From beneath the bed of concealer.
I got drunk on my bruises that night.

II. 

Your hands were so perfect – 
Crests and troughs in all the right places.
The curves of my neck fit into them so snugly
Just like my trembling fingers.
Your love is etched permanently on my back.

You told me I was a princess. 
Whose castle resided between her legs,
Prince Charming had a spare key
And frequented the castle often – my princess, you love our soirees, don’t you? 
I nodded fervently and said the castle belonged to him.

III. 

Ruins can be beautiful, can’t they?

IV. 

There’s a painting of a swan right above your bed.
On nights when my knees hurt
From holding the castle down,
I close my eyes and dream of being whisked away
By those majestic white wings
To a land where my pillows aren’t
stained with mascara tears,
And the lines aren’t blurry– 
But I still see love through a frosted glass. 

V. 

My best friend made me tea with her tears.
She said I was far away in Stockholm.
I laughed and pulled my sleeves over my wrists.
It’s called love, silly –
Not syndrome.
Together in sickness and in health, remember? 
He clasped my hand a little too tightly. 
I smiled through the fog.

Why does love taste like blood?

Ananya Sahoo is a 25-year-old change management analyst from India. When she’s not busy being a corporate slave, she enjoys writing, slam poetry, reading, and playing the piano. She worked as a Director of Outreach for a national level student-run NGO which aimed at educating the youth about taboo issues like sexual abuse, mental health, etc. She has always been passionate about writing and pens down her thoughts in her personal blog.

Maham Noman is a 25 year-old-doctor and self-proclaimed cat lady trying hard to juggle her career with her creative inclinations. A hobbyist photographer as well as poet, Maham was one of the runner-ups in the All Pakistan Poetry Slam 2018. She can be found running around the twin cities with a textbook in one hand and a camera in the other–laces untied, of course.