There are 51 descriptions of you on the wall so far

Looking at you is like looking at someone who never looks back.

                         “This has nothing to do with you.
                         T. Fleischmann

Looking at you is like looking at someone who never looks back.

You have thirty-three hairs on your midscalp, all but one gray.

You are never loud—even your anger moves like a lost child.

You never pose for the camera.

You are prone to silence.

You are quick with mental math—you bill faster than a calculator.

You walk like a man who is pursuing a thief.

You have an intolerance to gluten—your gut is proof.

You are waiting for me to open my shoulder blades and fly away.

You choose the smell of grapes over their flesh.

You fell from the sky into a lake, have since carried some water with you.

Everyone says you look great. I do not look like you.

You rub off, every morning, the rust collected in your eyes.

You dance like Muhammad Ali.

You love lychees in June but let them rot by July.

You sleep on a mattress just a little harder than you.

You always drink water as if you've been thirsty for days.

You prefer me over Ma to dye your hair.

You do not have a beer belly.

You are not superstitious, but you still touch the ground with your right hand every morning and kiss your fingertips.

You look young for your age. Customers at the shop often confuse us for brothers.

You chew tobacco after each meal.

You have three scars on your left knee, one on your right shin, one under your right eyebrow, two over your scalp.

You don't buy clothes until someone close is getting married.

You snore when drunk.

Your lips part long before you speak.

Your scalp sweats when you eat something spicy, you wipe it with your left forearm.

You shake your legs but expect me not to.

You cajole butterflies to be calm.

You are dark-skinned and not entirely accepting of it even after five decades.

Your shirt cuffs are always pulled up to your elbows.

You are nursing a beard.

You speak of death like a man thrice exiled.

You have more rivers in your palms than I do.

Your demons huddle in your gut.

You lie down to sleep and it's not a bed anymore, it's the bottom of the ocean.

You look good in all colours but black.

Your calves are Adonis-like—their muscles cramp often as if paying for their beauty.

You wake me—whenever you do—with a gentle foot massage.

You work a lot more than your body allows.

You smoke sitting on the toilet.

You got bald slowly, as if each day the sky stole a few hairs to use as rain.

You do not trust long prayers—the name of Rama is enough.

Your teeth were perfect as a child. Dida compared them to cultured pearls. Now, yellowed and blackened by years of gutka and cigarettes.

Your posture—not only in comparison to mine—is superior.

Your hands remind me of my hands, which remind me of Dadaji’s hands—all our little fingers a little curved.

You do not believe in Western medicine.

Your liver and kidneys expect a thank-you note.

You favour blues to greens, dew to fog, flute to strings.

You never sip, you wolf.

You are always looking away.

About the author

Karan Kapoor is a writer from New Delhi, India. They have been awarded or placed for the James Hearst Poetry Prize, Frontier Global Poetry Prize, Ledbury Poetry Prize, Red Wheelbarrow Prize, and BLR Prize among others. Their manuscript Portrait of the Alcoholic as a Father was a semi-finalist for the Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize. Their poems have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, North American Review, Colorado Review, Rattle, Poetry Online, The Offing, Strange Horizons, Arts & Letters, and elsewhere. They’re an MFA candidate at Virginia Tech. You can find them at: