10 Things My Bookshelf Says About Me

Unsplash / Ben Garratt
Unsplash / Ben Garratt


When I talk my words fall between shelves and the shelves
are labelled (what I should’ve said, what I shouldn’t have said,
what everyone tells me I should’ve said) and sometimes
they seep from one shelf to another and sometimes
I can’t find my words anymore


Every night termites eat away the wood and every morning
I sweep away sawdust and wondering
if I’m enough
(for the world does the same to me, often)


Some books have broken spines because the fingers they
mistook as caressing were actually hammers and how many
can hold love in their hands without being reminded of cycle
rides and shattered femurs


How to get laid in 18 easy steps:
fourth from the left,
third shelf, received as a gift,
never read


Some books hold more dust than eyes and when you read them
they don’t feel like hearts on someone’s sleeves but lips which
taste like strange lands no matter how long you kiss them


when I was young my bones creaked with enthusiasm
and as I’m growing older my breathing sounds like the wheezing
between damp hinges and my arms sag and this is no home
to find shelter in darling, because I suffocate under the burden
of what I know, even when the ache of not knowing
consumes me whole


I learnt how to dance when my father took me to see the mountains,
and no matter how hard I squinted, my eyes all I saw were the thighs
of a sleeping giant and the more I looked
the blurrier my vision got, till there were colourful sunspots playing
around in my eyes, and in their twirling skirts I found the invitation
to let my heart wander


The book I read most often is ‘How to Build Grief into Paper Planes’


A lullaby for the days you can’t find anything to hold onto
(but survival isn’t an anchor, it is a sextant, and the steering wheel), comes
a close second


Go on, judge a book by its cover, shame it over and over again
for being overweight, or underweight
for having hands that curve with the weight of this world,
or eyes which can find their way without your help, judge them
for their bodies and their faces, and they’ll show you how oceans
can be too salty for your taste, or too blue for you to notice
how much treasure they hold within Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Nilesh Mondal, 23, is an engineer by choice and writer by chance. He works as writer and curator at Terribly Tiny Tales, and as prose editor for Moledro Magazine.

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