guys it’s aditi appreciation day
And in the end, I do not care
if I’ve morphed through wear and tear
as long as I have my sharp tongue
and plentiful breath in each lung.
So, give me fire, give me hell—
it’ll make for a great story to tell.
I leave her house an outlaw,
criminalized by her touch.
I look the policeman in the eye, and he smiles,
glances the curve of my hip and waist.
(I want to tell him where it’s been, undulating
underneath her skin, but I’m afraid—
he will not take me behind bars, he will dig them into me
and then ask
His stare peels my dignity, shred by shred,
but that, you say, is not a threat
to the way this building stands. But,
my hands upon hers—
they can uproot the foundations of society
and paint all the walls with sin.)
I’d rather undress myself right now
than be stripped naked by you later—
I’ll sign myself into prison today
with this poem.
her lips, my neck,
her hair, my breasts,
my breath, on hers—
my arms, outstretched—
When the house of glass is fogged and still,
I make sure no one is looking in
and blink into the other world.
There is no darkness behind these shutters—
there is only a quiet rustle of sound, undisturbed by
the flapping windows of my glass house.
The other night, I felt my feet give way
and clutched onto the edge of my sheets,
my heart peeking through
the gaps in my teeth;
I had heard a knock— a knock— on the door.
But upon parting the blinds, I realized
it had only been an echo from before.
The way these men piss on the streets,
I think, is a complex metaphor for the way
this country is run.
I shall not discuss politics at the
I am far too young.
I watch my aunt reach for the biggest piece of cake
and gobble it down.
My own plate is empty,
but I must put away my sweet tooth
(and sour tongue)—
they gossip through laden mouths
but I must keep mine shut.
There is no politics at the dinner table,
and I am far too young.
Walking barefoot in a desert,
willfully drinks poison
out of thirst—
that is the same relationship
I have with insanity;
I do not care if it drives me to death.
I want what I want.
I am a spectator. On stage, today, is
the secret life of stray pigeons.
I sit with legs crossed
and the curtains
fall apart. I start to clap
before the show starts.
I see claws gripping the edge of a wall
before an actor jumps off—
I gasp, but then I learn
there is no such thing as a suicidal bird.
I hear a caw, a gargle
coming from behind a dusty
I feel my heart
skip a beat, but then I learn
that birds do not
scream out pain like us.
the star of the day—
flutters its wings
and burrows itself in a
I sink to the depths
of my seat,
but then I learn—
just like the pigeons, I too have
the choice to be free.
The credits roll, and
I lay down to rest. I fall asleep
to the rustle of the leaves.
minor discrepancies in our logic—
we try to swing on
the line between
control and chaos
but fall off, float down;
our hands full of ether
but our feet
on earth; fire; air; water.
Too many times, I wished
to be on the other side
of the pen—
to be the nib, the ink,
the words. I thought
you’d love me then.
I have found that although I am small,
although I am fragile and talk soft,
I am more than just a handful.
I am heavy:
with words and thoughts, with lights and darks.
Some have tried to pick me up with both hands.
Some have tucked me under their arms,
some slung me across their backs.
Some tried to lessen my load,
some tried to make it their own.
I was not built to be cradled.
I was not built to be placed in a bag and carried around.
I am more than a handful,
and I refuse to be held
by anyone whose hands
are not wide enough for
me to row boats through.
I’ve been washed by gentle hands, and yet
I hang my tears out to dry on lines
of my own poetry. I pause
each time my heart stutters. It has caught
the trauma of young child, and ever since,
hasn’t found a way to untie
its tongue. It has not budged from its
and I will not let you move it.
I drape the night about my ears,
spangled by silver. Sometimes, my own
noise is enough to create light.
I do not need your eyes
to see myself tonight—
I’d rather go blind and not know,
than let you be my guide.