the creamy sweat
on her custard apple neck,
leaving no legacies,
just the littlest and most
cherry-kissed of lakes,
as she plants sugar plums
inside his cheeks, and drapes
her arms over him, like scar tissues
peeled off dried plantains,
assuring him that it would be
for the best if they remained
browning and seedless,
like expired factory dates.
Of all the birds I have spotted, the Common Kestrel is the most intoxicating one. She has had me in a drunken stupor. Not that I was driving recklessly or trying to overcompensate for my insecurities some other way. It’s a more sophisticated derangement of the senses. One in which I get to take off, like a hot air balloon fueled on amphetamines, feeling light yet grounded.
I first saw her in the foothills of Munnar earlier this year. In a matter of a few weeks later, I spotted her again, on two separate occasions, at Pulicat Lake and the Vedanthangal shrub forest. As warm and precious as those experiences have been, there is a lingering suspicion. Maybe an intuition. Mostly a sinking feeling that my love isn’t getting through to her.
It is perhaps why I haven’t seen her since. Despite the fact that she is a commonly-found resident falcon in my city. In fact every week I see people post photographs of the Kestrel in local birding forums. My beautiful and lovable Kestrel. So wild is her colour palette with her spotted chestnut plumage, yellow spectacles and graying breasts.
And the song in her. Such a gorgeous harmony. If that’s not music, then I don’t want to be human. She’s probably not interested in being a bird. And this definitely isn’t love.
Only one of those makes any kind of sense to me.