The Student-Run Newspaper of Williams College Since 1887

September Nights in New England – Shenba Vairavan

March 15, 2022

Inspired by First Kiss by Tim Seibles 


His mouth 

fell into my mouth 

like the first draintrop 

of a Chennai flood, like a 

monsoon, like dry dirt drinking 

Gatorade, like songbirds on 

a droughted California evening. 

His kiss sounded just like that – 

I mean it was as if he 

had mixed liquid oak with 

the milk of peony stems, 

I swear. My mouth had 

always gotten tangled in 

the contraptions of liars 

uses and used, drowning in its 

own pity, 

pity it spoke into existence, 

But his mouth arrived 

like Indian takeout on too 

tired nights, staining nail beds yellow and

orange — I swear 

his eyes said turmeric 

and his lips cried picnic 

blankets painted in 

sunset landscapes. I swear 

his tongue was like 

the first sip of chicken broth on a November night after

a long walk home, 

pouring satisfaction, 

as he licked over leftover Starbursts 

stuck to canines. The night shown through the

window, his hand under the sheet. This kiss, I

swear, was like dancing 

without clothes on, unafraid of 

who might notice the rolls on your stomach, if

you might notice the rolls on your stomach.

His kiss was like falling in a dream 

but your consciousness won’t wake, it

can’t, it doesn’t want to. 

It’s like Vedic texts spoke 

through my body, languages 

neither of us understand, I swear. 

That kiss: soft and cool to the touch, but warm on

the body, like the down duvet on his bed back home

— like that, I swear, just like that.

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