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Where My Body is Cactus

for my sister

 

At least the supple mirage of sisterhood;
a fleshy lap, a string of pulp-flowers in her hair-

 

after that, mehfooz-
her forehead draped by my hand

tracing intricacies of sleep

 

But nani’s laceration is her father’s milk

and I am succulent with its curdle

 

Did you know mama’s budmouth

moves in my cheeks, still suckling

from that darkened breast?

 

I have become thorned to stomach it,

and still within me the stain is turgid –

let me say one last time I was harmed

 

The memory of wetness remains

no matter which body,
no matter how warned

 

So swollen, I stop bringing her mama’s nightsilk chador and

 

I didn’t do it to hurt you jaana,
I only ever wanted you unbreakable
but when I bend to kiss your hands,
my tongue is still a soaked lash

ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

is an Indian poet based in London. She has recently completed her MA in Creative Writing at UEA and has been shortlisted for Nine Arches Press’ Primers scheme. She has been published in Magma, Barren, Use Words First, and Ink Sweat & Tears amongst others. She is also a graduate of The Writing Squad.

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