Happiness, he decides, is a purer form of nausea.
The universe is written in Braille
To be read only in the interludes.
By interludes he means the grace of summer rains.
The filth of the town guttering down the creek.
The trees suddenly dressed in the first green of Eden.
The light changing every second and no one noticing.
The moderation of the heart is in waiting alone
For the rapture to subside. Young Chopin
Weeping, listening to his mother play the piano
In the long Polish afternoons. It is in knowing that
The important joy, in fact, cannot be shared
At all. Is inconceivably private.
He thinks of the woman and the necessary grammar
Of estrangement. Somewhere an ocean beckons her.
She heeds but doesn’t leave. Yet her body inside a warm car
Moving farther away from him seventy kilometres per hour.
The sound of water, whether clear or murky, is the one
He remembers shimmering in the brooks, as a child.
Him falling asleep clutching the new pain in his fists
Growing more visible against the sound.
Learning the alphabets of longing a little too early.
There are seventeen laws of uncertainty in love,
He decides. He thinks of her body.
Of other bodies beginning to blur against hers.
Because the stubborn heart cannot make love twice.
Rohan Chhetri is a poet and editor based in Delhi.