by Simran Singh Jain
What I’m trying to tell you is some nights I drink too much. Make a note: wine comes with strange dreams and stranger mornings, sometimes with strangers and sometimes alone. Oftentimes both. Some men think they know what God looks like, but you already knew that.
When I wake up in the middle of the night, tongue still red and almost swollen but not quite, you rock me back to sleep. Your arms are tight and pinker than I expected, your socks are grey and dirtier than I expected.
I don’t know who you are.
I think I wake up in the middle of the night and you rock me back to sleep, but you say you slept through the night and that I smell different in the morning, less like gardenias and more musky like my father.
My father would have liked you.
Who rocked me back to sleep? Do you know what God looks like? Please describe him to me in as much detail as possible, I want to be able to taste him with my red, swollen tongue. When the rain falls on a sunny day I almost think I can, did you already know that?
My toenails are bright red and I ask if they can circle yours while I describe my strangest dream to you. I was sitting alone on a roof with a man who told me he could draw me a picture of God. He tried hard, but the ink from the red pen bled each time it hit the paper. We had both forgotten it was raining.
My mother wouldn’t have liked you very much, she has a hard time with dirty socks.
I put a bucket out to collect the rain. It filled quickly, and again I was sitting alone on a roof, next to a bucket filled to the brim with a man who tried to draw me a picture of God, but did not try hard enough. I collected the bucket and brought it into my home, except it wasn’t my home at all. It had far too many windows and doors leading to the same place.
I climbed between the sheets, thought about men who can’t hold their liquor like me and dug my fingernails into my thighs. My thumb wandered when I thought about how you’re not like them at all.
While stumbling out of bed, I tripped over the red bucket and spilled you across my wooden floors.
What I’m trying to tell you is some nights I drink too much and have the strangest dreams about the strangest strangers, some who rock me back to sleep and others who sleep soundly through the night.
Simran Singh Jain is a queer South Asian activist and poet from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. She has been involved in the movements for Reproductive Justice and anti-racist activism for several years, including currently working at an anti-incarceration non-profit. She is an emerging poet and has been published by the Academy of American Poets’, the Pennsylvania Bards Southeast Poetry Review, the South Asian Sexual and Mental Health Alliance, and Nine Mile Literary Magazine. She is also the editor of a book of poetry translations, originally written by her Dadiji (grandmother), Sunita Jain.