I call to myself from the front porch / I don’t hear an answer / I am a house with rotted guts / a flickering garage light / I would rather swallow fireflies to spark the abyss in my stomach than pills / self-medication / your memory is scorched earth / a place I return to unwillingly / I ask myself / what is this past / running rampant / flash before my eyes / hummingbird heartbeat pulsing faster / than the time it took / to take cover against the blow / shelter is pointless when you are / everywhere / which is to say I can make / a landmine of any voice / I juice myself like / a ripe lemon / stir bittersweet lemonade under a / blunt sun / the landline shook my foundation today / your breath on the other end / I taste the singe of every time I howled myself / hoarse like it’s stuck between my teeth / chew it like raw meat snap a wishbone in my cheek / pretend I swallowed the longer side / I slip back to your nails screeching / against sand / hung up hotline dial tone beeping / farther and farther in the distance / I am racked and wretched / wrung out / a towel beneath a tire / I keep the colander inside my mouth / how easy is it to tell a stranger that you are not only a lit match / but a bonfire / warmth to house cupped hands / I strain to remember / how much of me to burn / I bet you still like the smell of gasoline
Anisha Narain (she/they) is a queer Tamil-American poet and creator studying computer science and creative writing at the University of Illinois. They have poems in or forthcoming in perhappened, giallo lit, and 433 Magazine. In their spare time, they like to sing, act, and add to their collection of quirky jewelry. Find them (always) on Twitter and Instagram @anarain00.