Poetry: “Desperate Acts” by Ashish Kumar Singh

“Be happy, you remember your mother say / as she waved you goodbye, and immediately / you feel guilty.”

Ashish Kumar Singh effortlessly depicts desperation and the search for happiness and love in this vulnerable and unflinching poem.

Desperate Acts

Tonight, you admit being alone.
Outside, the night like an animal scratches
its back against the road while a moth
takes its last breath next to your lit window.
Be happy, you remember your mother say
as she waved you goodbye, and immediately
you feel guilty. To remedy, you scroll
through your phone, looking for the nearest
person you could love, and select the one
you think will reciprocate. Is this, dear boy,
your way of discovering happiness?
Now out, you sense the city to be unusually
mute as if everything around you
is holding its breath, and when he arrives,
the beams of his headlights tear the night.
You jump in and he drives around,
searching for a spot. Beneath the defunct
streetlight he stops, the car the only object
with an ounce of light. You let him
kiss you and though you try,
you find yourself incapable of love. Instead
you just lie, staring through the sunroof
the charred sky, the stars like silver grains
peppered by the hands of some
pheasant god. Afterwards, he offers to take
you back but you decline, saying
you enjoy a good walk. When he reverses
the car, you get to see how light
abandons a place. Not sure which direction,
you start to walk across the field and since
you have started hating yourself,
you wonder what is it like to be without this
body? What is it like to be this night,
this dark, this dew that bends
+++the ankle-length grass.

Ashish Kumar Singh

Ashish Kumar Singh (he/him) is a queer Indian poet whose work has appeared in Passages North, The Bombay Literary Magazine, Chestnut Review, Fourteen Poems, Cutleaf Journal, Atlanta Review and elsewhere. Currently, he lives in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

Close Menu