Sweta Srivastava Vikram (www.swetavikram.com), featured by Asian Fusion as “one of the most influential Asians of our time,” is an award-winning writer, three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Amazon bestselling author of 9 books, novelist, poet, essayist, and columnist who currently lives in New York City with her husband. A graduate of Columbia University, when Sweta is not doing yoga, dancing, cooking, traveling, writing books and posts for other magazines, teaching creative writing, or giving talks on gender equality, she is working as a digital marketing strategist and content marketing specialist. Connect with her on Twitter [@swetavikram] and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Words.By.Sweta)
There is a fire burning inside me.
At first I try to hide the fact,
but any passerby could look inside me
and tell it was fake calm that I was drinking
at the airport lounge in a wine glass.
But, inside that one glass,
I could become invisible.
Inside that one sip,
I could whisper my fears.
I play tag with your memories.
I wonder if I am different from you—
I worry how I will preserve
the scent of your memories.
I call up New Delhi;
the doctors don’t know
if you’ll make it.
I pick up my ticket and passport,
and look at the sky, ready to bleed,
praying it’ll hold off
until I reach you.
Stepping inside the dark forest,
not knowing everything will change after today,
I buckle my seat belt.
Not knowing my heart will change
after you leave.
Can I walk inside
and bring my empty palms
to those leaks in your valves
so you don’t drown?
Can I read
you passages from our unwritten lives,
so you are convinced
to fight harder,
and I don’t grieve
for you already?
The flight is set for takeoff.
Can you see me coming?
Don’t ask me to keep the faith,
because the sky looks empty.
I want nothing more
than for you to wait for me.
The Lost Ones
We were raised to say only words
that were nice.
I challenged your behavior, Ma—
wondered why you kept so many secrets.
I’ve taken us to places
where no family has gone before.
I need this silence to end.
I want to know
why you accepted mean words
from those lost at the pathway of life.
You might have a new place
to sleep and eat
and to turn out
the noise of these questions.
Think of us—the lost ones left behind.