—even though he claimed you. That you were forbidden, not to be had, was something I had assumed—but only until the moment I brushed those raven curls out of your eyes. That drenched winter morning you were still new to our town. You passed by my mist-laden window, all kohl-lined eyes and plum lips. I thought I was the one falling, but then you slipped in the mud at my threshold. I ran out barefoot, more to see the creature you were than to check if you were unhurt.

Your head lay in my lap and you would not blink; those unflinching pools reflected the rainbow of me, gave me vertigo, like the vortex in my dreams that I willingly descend into and never can escape. So I lowered my lips to your ears and whispered, “It’s okay. You’re okay.” I thought to say “I’m here,” but just then my broad-shouldered brother strode out of the house and towered over us, legs splayed, and you fluttered your eyelashes at him.

After that he had no choice but to rescue you. In one swoop he raised you from my lap and said, “I’m here.” Continue reading “I BREATHED YOU FIRST by Maya Kanwal”