Paper Boats

by ABHIRAAMEE AYADURAI

This will be the last paper boat I will make
to tell you that my throat has dried up
from all the crying and the
sleepless nights and the
starless skies and the
heartbreaks and the
bomb blasts and the
moment I sprinkled soil
over your remains I barely recognized.

Lilies and daisies, daisies and lilies.

The other ninety-nine paper boats
told me that fairytales were never about princes
or pixie dust or
ball gowns or love at first sight
so look at me now and tell me
what a happy ending means for
daughters who have lost their warriors
to fate sealed in a burned envelope
that every time I close my eyes
I can still hear your heartbeat alongside mine.

Lilies and daisies, daisies and lilies.

At seventeen something I realized
what goodbyes felt like
when they covered your face with oxygen mask
“Breathe,” I kept telling you, “breathe,”
Like a mantra over and over again
because my feeble prayers surpassed the heaven
and crashed upon the devil’s home instead.
What will become of those shoulders I slept on?
What do I do with these tears that yearn
for the world’s strongest hands?

I wipe them and lean on a plank
to let the final paper boat
to sail across the ocean
to look for you
among the corals
and if this doesn’t come back
Lilies and daisies, daisies and lilies
I’ll understand you need my company.