The Five Elements

by Nishtha Tripathi

There are men I would have loved to eat like

air                                                                              but most days I have the appetite for little

more than sodden biscuits out of air-tight

jars, threatening to crumble like a hijacked

airplane flying over an ocean.

It crashed beside my bed once and dissolved

into smoke so dense that it rained for days

and had you not found this poem, I would

have been among the casualties.

Most days, I am little more than a flow, like

water                                                                        unmet with any resistance, pooling by my

sides like sweat straight from the Lazarus pit

of evergreen perspiration.

The sweat does not leave behind stains. It

raises fertile civilizations of edible men

bursting with scorn and trading in shame.

I break a lot more than sweat. Break out like

fire                                                                            in a children’s school, tragedy manifold.

Break down in the middle of every lap of

of the rat race, burrow into the fire at every

achievement that is not mine, and hibernate

in the ashes.

When the baton was passed to me, the fire

atop it became the rat’s tail, twisting in the

trap and had you not found this poem, you

wouldn’t have set it free.

There are also days when I kiss like the

earth                                                                         with eyes thrown open like dug-up pits and

the rods and cones leaping off the edge

after having spun and spun about the tilted,

twisted axis.

Already beyond the man, the mood, the

moment, with restless thoughts and restless

feet tapping away to the beats of the

circadian rhythm.

I exist between the glitch and the static, like

aether                                                                       that’s void, yet, abuzz with life, habitated

by scornful men and bustling rats in streets

that reek of my sweat and suck one in like a

sloppy French kiss.

From there I emerge every now and then

and like a woman touched in the head, catch

morsels of normalcy on my tongue, to

finally recede back to my venus flytrap.



Nishtha Tripathi is a law student who writes to seek refuge from the rigours of law. Her works have featured in the Nightingale and Sparrow Magazine, the Teen Belle Magazine, the Versfication, among others. When not writing she can be found dilly dallying her way through college assignments.