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  • Roshni Riar

To make chai out of misery

By Roshni Riar


i weave threads of saffron

through the lacerations

that split themselves

open upon your departure,

sewing myself back together

with yellow stained fingers.


if there is a direct translation

for fatherless in our mother

tongue, i was never made aware. my needle, a sliver of cinnamon bark, clumsily pushes through

my skin in a desperate act

of reunification.


threats do not slice cleanly

like a knife, no. they tear

haphazard wounds into

my very toughest parts.

i rub a salve of sugar and water

along the puckered, barely

mended bridge of stitches

to speed up this process. i wait.


a cold compress of black tea

bags should bring down

the swelling. the harder

i press, the more i forget

your accent carrying my name.

i wait for an infection

that never comes, instead slowly healing around the loss of you.


with my first hesitant sip

of moving on, the yearning

in my chest begins to dissipate.

droplets trickle down my chest,

settle into that place beneath my heart that does not love but accepts.

i keep swallowing, my fiery throat

bobbing unevenly, until the nausea passes.

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