Issue 25: Laleh Gupta

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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