Issue 25: Laleh Gupta
nine ways to actualization
(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
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
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
(ix) i am transcendental, i remain
unborn until i am
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…
Copyright © 2020 by Laleh Gupta, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.