• Varsha Panikar (@fromtheafterglow)

Paranoia II

I’m scared that there are people watching me in the dark. I turn my head and glimpse out of my periphery, only to see shadows and paintings of laughing faces. Patterns slowly diminish in the absence of light, but an impending doom resides, burns more intensely. I tighten my pose and clench my fists. It waits in the corner, nose pressed to the cold, while I cover my face and lower my eyes in hate, self hate. Always watching but never receiving anything but judgement and deceit. Nothing ever comes of it.

I’m alone here in the dark, marking my territory with absent eyes and great reprise. No, I don’t feel complete. Absent of any remaining desires, I claim it’s outstretched hand and let It take me. My benefit isn’t loneliness. My sides ache, and my shoulders cry out; sore and weak from holding up the world, the world within, the world without. This is the day I weep, the day I leave these memories behind, or perhaps, fall further into misery; holding the last piece I took with me, a fragment of what used to be; and watch it disperse into ash from my withering palm.


I will wait for better times on the other side and find myself drawn to your gravity, once again, but time has become abstract. Hours and decades are unclear to me, but there is hope beyond this barren place where time cannot follow, only erase. My burdens absorbed. I let it take me. A voice tells me to run, but something inside refuses let go, but fret not! These are the shadows of my mind, my daily chore, nothing more.

© VARSHA PANIKAR