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Winters Without You

by Kanika Ahuja

Memories of you fog my

breath on Delhi mornings.

No one can feel the warmth

escape but me, the void

making trap doors

out of windpipes.

This winter feels chilly in my toes.

There is no warmth nestled in memories

to thaw the frozen fragility of moments.

Believe me, I’ve tried.

I’ve left your pictures

in cages and bonfires

like roasting potatoes

only to hear the crackle

of your laughter.

These days, I tell you

I miss you in languages

you do not understand.

The French say you are missing

from me,

as if missing you could be an arrow

shot in the dark only to be returned

like a boomerang in your smile.

On some days, I believe On others, I believe

I am made up of memories. I am mostly memories.

My 70% water body But these are warmer weathers

a puddle, a pond, a river And I risk the infection of being

memories hover above forgotten. The irony of being

like fireflies, longing thirsty in an ocean

for sailboats to come lingers like a lump

capture in mason jars. of salt in my throat.

The first time I saw you

was by the river

your hair drenched

in the soft scent

of silver linings.

In my head

you turn around

to wave goodbye every time.

But you don’t.

And just like that

silver linings crack

through the folds

of old photographs

and all I’m left

with are fragments.

The shards of frozen

forevers, and my hands

were never a warm

place to land anyway.

Winters without you

leave wounds on dry skin

as invisible as paper cuts.

Winters without you

freeze wounds that don’t thaw.

About the Author

Kanika Ahuja is a poet, performer and educator of poetry based in New Delhi, India. She holds a Master's Degree in English Literature from Ambedkar University, Delhi and is a Jijivisha Fellow for Poetry at Slam Out Loud. Her work appears, or is forthcoming, at The Medley, Sidereal Magazine, Emerge Literary Journal, Airplane Poetry Movement’s Ultimate Poetry Anthology and elsewhere. Find her on Instagram and Twitter: @kanika0326 and

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