I am your past,
not the kind that hits you
with a blast of wistful nostalgia
when you dip the coconut cookie
into a sweet sea of chai -
your mamma's way, you realise,
has become yours now.
I don't bring an unexpected smile to you
with the memory of a silly antic, a stupid joke.
I am not that clown of a friend, the one of whom
no one remembers much, except the jokes.
I won't cradle you with the memories
of a love cherished, though unowned,
one that lingered, till it finally faded.
And then nothing could bring it back,
not even the warmth that being loved so
fills you with.
You keep me locked in nested boxes.
You know that I am not a threat
because pasts can't hurt,
at least not in any tangible way.
You fear me, yet keep me close
and when you feel inadequate,
you peek at me with a smug smile.
But, I came at a cost.
First published on Red Fez in May 2022