Two Poems by Kashvi Dikshit

Letters to My Younger Self: A Brief Evolution in Time

Some nights were hard
Cheeks wet with perennial tears
A sickening test of my ability to face my fears
Chest tight, lungs constricted
As if strangling my throat
Till each last drop of breath ran out
And I was left trembling
Swimming in pools of sweat
Head racing with incoherent thoughts
Each one fiercely competing for my attention
Out of touch with the world around me
An unsettling feeling of being untethered from reality
Pleading forgiveness for whatever sin I may have committed
For surely I wasn’t being punished for the mere sake of it
Screaming without a sound, till my whispers turned hoarse
Begging for the ghost of a chance that someone might just hear
And free me from the prison that was my mind
A thought that I visualized as immediate relief
Though calling it impossible would be gracious to its attainability.
(For a man in pain knows nothing of rationality nor cares for it,
Rationality is but trivial in the face of a suffering man)

At last, the aftereffects would seep in
While I lay benumbed as bare whitewashed walls,
Mind devoid of thought or emotion,
Whispering the same few words under my breath
Like a simple truth spoken in echoic repetition:
“I’m sorry to my younger self’
“I’m sorry to my younger self”
“I’m sorry to my younger self.”
Filled with shame and guilt and sorrow
That I failed to be the version of myself she had in her head
That each day I strayed further
And further away.

Today I am older.
Some nights are still hard
But I truly believe with all my heart
That my younger self would be proud than ashamed of me
For the smallest victories that add feathers to my cap,
For waking up not entirely dreading what is to come,
For staying clean for the longest I ever have,
For choosing to survive every single day,
For making it through every single day.
Perhaps what I failed to realise back then
Was that each time I swung further,

I swung back a little closer than before
Today I am older
Some nights are still hard
I whisper the same few words under my breath
Like a simple truth spoken in echoic repetition:
“I forgive you”
“I forgive you”
“I forgive you.”

Here Lies

Your memories stain the walls of my mind
That I built on the grave of your demise.
What stands in place is the ghost of a man;
A stranger whose heart from gold turned ice.

How does one grieve the death of a man still living
When in sight it is but the shell of the man I once knew?
The dearth of your presence like an ever-present void;
An imprint of light from a life snatched too soon.

Your eyes seem devoid of even a mere flicker of recognition
And that pains me,
For I would accept even coldness, contempt, disdain
Than a lack thereof, shrouded in bare nothingness.
For if hollowness was what I was truly after,
I’d simply listen to the haunt of your lingering laughter.

Bits of your past live on as plaguing remnants
As do the reminders of all those departed.
The tormenting nature of ghosts is not unheard of,
But I often wonder if those left behind too haunt the dead,

If in afterlife my reminders harrow you just the same,
Or if you have severed the last of your mortal ties.
How am I to keep you anchored to hallowed ground
When your memorial was built upon infernal lies?

For a man who swears he does not know my name,
It is only fitting
To leave his tombstone unnamed.

Kashvi Dikshit is a poet and writer based out of Bangalore, India. Her work has been featured in various literary journals and anthologies around the world. Outside of the publishing world, Kashvi likes to perform spoken word at local fundraisers to support social causes. As a professionally trained singer and dancer, Kashvi adds a unique flair to her poetry through lyrical flow and rhythm that deeply reflects the traditional roots of poetry.

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