nine ways to actualization

break me;

(i)         years ago 
i may have been a seed but somewhere
along that slope i began dancing on gravestones & i think 
i still remember being eight & scared when

the man whose ashes
i stepped on lied because 
he was anything but part of my 
imagination, & though his send-away had been 
improper, the
ganges siphoned away any remnants of purity from his skin.
but mostly he was just very old. 

(ii)         i just might be a house – no, 
a gallery with 
a singular piece of art that sits in its 
invisible way upon the floor & 
i’ve never been prouder but i cannot escape.

better is a parabola and i am tired;
i am so far gone that i cannot see how 
my fingers blur themselves into singularity.  
time is superlative & 
i am made of extremities 
so together we are swollen & hence we are 

(iii)         do you feel holy yet? divinely impure? am i unmade? 

fate is my only goddess,
sometimes we sit & giggle as the 
sequence reverses even though we are
both not allowed wine. 
she’s orange & beautiful so i think if i shrink myself
enough i might resemble her 
until i too am superficial. 

(iv)         kiss me & i’ll kneel by durga, 
touch me & i’ll embrace kali, 
hold me & i’ll surrender to parvati. this 
is not a love story;
i still hold my heart in my hand & 
it’s already starting to turn to mist. i think i have been 

(v)         when i crawled on my knees & 
begged for a god 
i know i got lost & 
is home this state of forever?

the grass hides a burial ground & i am 
simultaneously above & under & 
my skull would make an 
excellent drum so i send it to my boyfriend. 
except i don’t have a 
boyfriend & i like girls anyway so 
now i am properly faceless;

(vi)         two days ago i had asked someone to 
my lungs til the styrofoam bled out 
& pull my throat until i whispered
my secrets for 
only them to hear. they are a plastic beauty with 
speckled child eyes, pallid claims 
wrench themselves from my hold & lay 
themselves bare at their feet. 

(vii)         the creased curtains scoff
at my return but i smile anyway. 

my mother thinks i 
mould history 
with my bare hands so i say that
my eyes have finally begun shrinking 
into my head & i have my question ready: 
what do you want from me?

(viii)         i met a dude on a bus once & 
he told me to shut up so here, i have
crafted my answer: 

the front door of my house was my only protector until
it too broke down. now 
it is always drunk & if i push it enough, it welcomes
me to prison. my mind is the warden, 
it holds me by the collar as it harvests
my reality for all to see – 
i’m still learning, so i get myself a spade & it stares
at me as i move along to the death tunes of the thunder above. 
the sky showers
shrouded bodies at me & i collapse, a final 
final goodbye.

(ix)         i am transcendental, i remain 
unborn until i am 
ready again.



[Laleh Gupta is a fifteen-year-old student from Maharashtra, India. Pretty buildings make their heart beat fast, and they likes puns, sentences that trail off and….]

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