By the heaviness in my stomach, I know that you are near,
An indefinable discomfort that is not quite like fear,
A vague, creeping sorrow that hangs in the air,
Which is more than I desire, but less than I can bear.

In your stealthy genius, you find your way inside,
So quietly and swiftly, there is no time to hide
The doubts and insecurities, the fundamental lack,
And every vulnerability lies open to attack.

But you are much more cunning, you win me with your charm,
Seduce me with diversion, convince me there’s no harm,
For there is truth in tragedy, and beauty in the storm.
Most people do not realize that sadness can be warm.

And just when I am sure that we can live as one,
You show yourself a traitor, but it’s too late to run,
Already your nails are clawing and I’m turning into stone,
Already I am breathless, bent-double, and alone,

Except for you, you stay with me, and together we rise above,
And watch the pitiful display below with something akin to love,
Until we laugh despite ourselves at the thing curled on the bed,
At the pointlessness, the absurdity, of every tear that’s shed,

For it’s you who are eternal, the rest is just a dream,
Some self-indulgent fancy, a past that’s never been,
And it seems as if this moment will be, will never cease,
I want to give myself to you; in submission there is peace.

Still some nearly-buried voice protests this must not be,
And urges me to struggle, and tries to make me see,
That desperate calm is by far worse than any desperate flight
So the battle must go forward till death or morning’s light.

Thus we play our endless game, you leave and you return,
And I’ll never be the victor unless I finally learn,
How you strip me of myself and why it’s me you choose,
And why I won’t defeat you, and what I’m scared to lose.

Gauri Khatkhate, Class of 2002