see that girl cracking jokes for the whole room to erupt
in laughter as she turns the other way to wipe
silent tears.

see that girl walking about with rocks in her heart
and pains in her yansh,
acting like everything is okay, when in fact
all she wants to do is cry!

that one cheering up another soul when she can barely hold herself up,
has eyes and mouth heavy with tales no one will ever see or hear.

“may we never die before we actually die,”
a troubled poet once wrote.
but you wouldn’t know, would you?
β€”even if she told you, you would not believe herβ€”
the many ways by which she kills herself,
every of one of these days!

the last time she died was on her way to the bathroom, when her legs gave way and she fell and died.
just like that.
before that,
she had died in her sleep,
one too many times, that now
falling asleep at night
was starting to become a real problem for her.
on one such occasion, she dreamt she had died
vomiting out blood, together with all her viscera.
what a way to go!

so, with the tick
of each second,
she hears the click
of death, summoning her;
beckoning her;
to its dangerous side.

she smells it on her skin,
like strong-scented perfume,
her (imagined) imminent death;
the one she cannot help but feel
is strangely near;
almost upon her,
like a beast ready to devour.

she accepts and recognizes her fears as “irrational”
for the more spiritually-inclined, probably,
thoughts from the devil that need casting away through midnight prayers” may work better.
but the accurate medical term for her “death anxiety” would be “thanatophobia.
(she found out later, kind courtesy of Google).

Whew!, she said out loud at last, exasperated.
a sophisticated new word learnt.
a disheartening phobia identified.
now her journey to healing must begin.

*yansh : pidgin word for buttocks.