The ghost that lives in my room, Nida Admani
Back sliding down the wall, she settles on the floor,
Knees drawn to her chest, she stares out the window.
Suspicious, I watch her from under half-closed eyelids.
When she’s in a good mood, she doesn’t like being ignored.
She tugs the tendrils on my pillow, tickles my toes,
Giggles, while dodging my sightless swipes.
She sits on my chest to wake me at sunrise.
Camouflaging stolen light in the blinds.
I stand in front of the bathroom mirror,
She stands behind me.
My reflection can’t bear to look back at her.
At sunset, I’m sitting on my tasselled green prayer mat,
She takes the tasbeeh from my fingers, wears it around her neck,
Black beads juxtapose her ashen teeth, don’t I look pretty?
The other night, she and I sat cross-legged on my bed,
Taking turns each to pull cards from our decks,
To see who plays the better one.
When we both draw the same, we both raise our hands,
But I smack it, claim it, before she does.
She lowers her hand, slaps the victory smirk off my face,
Drags me by my hair, ties me to the leg of the chair,
And disappears. Ears ringing, I lay imprisoned
By my own disbelief.
The next night, I look for her behind the cupboard,
In the mirror, between the dresser and the desk.
She’s never been one accept defeat with grace,
But now I’m afraid of sleeping by myself.
Nida Admani is a researcher from Sri Lanka, working in the field of law and human rights and writing poetry to make sense of it. Her poems have previously been published by Groundviews, Kopi Collective, and Masterhouse.