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everything; something; nothing

Oh the gift of a
mother’s laugh: this day
spent in echo,
dressed in ribbon.

the unsteady rhythm of error, one before another, another after one. the synapse of sorrow. I am arm to arm with a stranger who has marked his arms with the signature of multiple blades, Shiva tattooed across the ruled canvas. Shiva, who destroys and decorates. Shiva, who transcends limits and dances on borders. suddenly, I too, want to grasp a trishula by the throat and split my thighs open with its fangs— half convinced that the river will flow out instead of blood. thick navy like gouache on paper. / vertigo becomes the parentheses to my whispers of movement. the body shifts, sifts, sits: orphaning one alphabet after the other. I have no memory of my limbs thrown over his, and yet: this metaphor: our arms fall together as eyelids on the flash of light. / in a trance, the two of us are fucking each other godless. now, I cannot remember who it was, only that he clawed the walls of my frame on his way out. phantom architecture of transition: the remnants of that world in this. / it is almost September and I listen to my words hiss as they rush through this drainage pipe. I develop a lisp of the fingers, a stammer of the thumbs. / I lather a sentence in the color of the hypocrite. it jumps from the page and lands on my neck, chokes me half to death only to bring me back only to take its last breath. I slam the nib hard against the sheet and the ink seeps into a large blot. (I do not know whether I am beautiful or not.) / the bones of a bird felt through its feathers, brittle in my palms. its heart chanting incessantly confuses my own. flashback; gone. a speck of grey on a London morning, atop a garage. / the bedroom mirror multiplies my image. despite the company, I find the experience altogether unsettling. / blue: its fickle shell, its willingness to fold into the crease of each hour. I identify with its lust. its peculiarity. /

the whole form:
all directions in his hands
confine the image
to one view /
explore the play
of space,
the impact
of mass.


Girls Get Busy #22 is finally finished and available online for free HERE

Featuring: Chanelle Adams, Kani Anifowoshi, Monika Ardila, Braudie Blais-Billie, Liz Bowen, Carlin Brown, Dana Burns, Alexandra Bussiere, Emily Smit-Dicks, Maggie Dunlap, Monika Forsberg, Forty Elephants Mob, Mariah Friere, Charlotte Gaffney, Miriam Galea, Emma Gruner, Caitlin Hazell, Hinni Huttunen, Jazmin Jones, Melissa Jones, India K, Aisling Keavey, Olivia Lawler, Lora Li, Maja Malou Lyse, Moira MacLean-Wideman, Nelly Matorina, Ilenia Madelaire, Melissa McElhose, Carol-Anne McFarlane, Madeleine Meunier, Pema Monaghan, Aditi Nagrath, Nuie, Katie Honan Pellico, Laurence Philomene, The Phoney Club, Christina Poku, Rhea Ramakrishnan, Louise Reimer, Leyla Grace Reynolds, Cornelia Van Rijswijk, Elisha Van Rijswijk, Nyssa Sharp, Hannah Siegfied, Beth Siveyer, Nandi La Sophia, Christina Svenson, Elis Talis, Rhian Thoms, Andrea Tirrell, Barbora Togel, Alexandra Urbina, Lin VanderVliet, Emily J. Wang, Haley Winkle

📖 🎨 📖

Curated by Beth Siveyer. Cover art by Nyssa Sharp

Girls Get Busy is a feminist creative platform that supports artists, writers and musicians.

guys! look! me!!

[devoid of void]

(on his arms,
the evidence of
a misery
so external
and immense
that I mistake
it for
time itself,)

what breath I could draw
from your navel, I would string into a crown/

the glimpse of
a large sheet of orange
from behind green

and I mistake it
for fire

while you are facing the other direction/

I slip into your skin
as a child’s hand
into her father’s glove;

no trace as to whether
it is out of fear
or that other word/

two bodies tangled in
grass, two ripples

in the same bowl of water

(not for long—)

Oh poet, (of the moment, of this frail
strand of youth danging on my doorknob,

of holding each day
as if nothing is nothing, of now—)

since you have inhabited my being,
I hardly know which direction is which.

I can only be sure though, that you
will retire soon: it is evident in the

way you end each poem with a
resignation, a sigh. Oh poet, (of myself—)

till when will you tend to this garden
and still wake to serve some more?

Here, the soil now above your head like
a shawl, and

teeth growing into the floor.

I have, once again, swept through the waves, cracked
my knuckles loud against the desks, and: surrendered.

Ten capsules to a blister.
Ten capsules to toy with the sanctity of my harshness,
to navigate my tremor again.

(Once, I was known not for the brand of my medication,
but for the brand of my bicycle. I cannot
say that it was better then, though; no.)

I hook my bent elbow
into another’s and we laugh
about the suicides
we accidentally didn’t meet.

Humor shifts, you see. Dances. Throws
its hands up in the air and swivels its
heavy hips to the beat. Perhaps, yes,

it was easier then. Laughter was not
quite of the same yellow though; no.


Like a box in the wrong row, I’ve been misplaced.

Wrong city, wrong world—
such a big mistake!

Accidents happen, they say, but I think it is all a matter 
of chance— and I just happened to be put in the hands

of a factory worker, still dizzy and unawake.

grandmother says, “may laughter keep blossoming on your face, may you split yourself open with it”

I, foster child of too many a country. I, suspended in the mythical third culture. I, not young enough anymore.

For the large half of my life, I watched without questioning. From city to city, I crammed my mouth shut with memories. About half a decade ago, though, I learned what it was: to long to belong. To wish to claim ownership of a land, to say: yes, this is where I come from. / India is the mother I am tied to only by color. India is the mother I have never had a conversation with. India is the mother I have only taken from. India is the mother whose daughter I am not. /

I return and the country releases its antibodies. I return and the country lands a suckerpunch to my expatriate tongue. I return and the country asks me to dance in a way I cannot. I return and the country does not know which corner to place me in. I return and the country invites me in regardless, a crimson swastika at its gates.

India is the mother I have not expressed sufficient gratitude to. /

Oh country of my roots, thank you for the brown; thank you for the fearlessness of color. Thank you for my grandmothers’ hands. Thank you for the wars you hosted in your womb before I was born. Thank you for holding the reigns of the par in my desi. Thank you for the monologue you spoke out loud, even when I had my ears turned to face another’s rivers.

I lower my defenses and we embrace. Oh country of my flesh, country whose surname I have inherited, I will learn the language to talk back to you one day.