“DIY Project” by Shreya Vikram

Shreya Vikram (age 15)

DIY PROJECT

stage i.

there is a word for looking
into the mirror and not seeing
yourself—tell myself this
daily.

 

stage ii.

he pretends not to see
me when he takes out my gift. closing his eyes
with his hands, asks darling, where
are you? where is my sweetheart? I don’t see
her, no I don’t. shake my head then say I’m here and he peeks
through his fingers, forehead wrinkling, asks and who are you now?
I don’t know you, no I don’t. who are you?

 

stage iii.

forget old diseases & gather
new ones. stomach aches
unexpectedly. forgotten
pain whips into my age
old bones. time’s contrived
as the flesh: in the end,
must remember everything
is something made. must be someone
to do the making. watch my hurried breath
steal away the candles and leave us
gasping.

 

stage iv.

the final canvas is nameless. slaughter
the s so we can steal a little
happiness for ourselves. take out
the i & leave
it unsigned so it will wander
without a mother like everything else
I love.

from 2021 Rattle Young Poets Anthology

__________

Why do you like to write poetry?

Shreya Vikram: “Without poetry, I’d waste language. We’re lazy more often than not. We speak and write just to acknowledge our mutual acceptance of linguistic and cultural grammar—rather than do the hard work of actual communication. I’m frustrated by how language is used to validate our conformity; how the minute I name an experience, it becomes shared property. How can I put something into words and still let it be mine? What if grammar was just another cliché? What if I didn’t trust punctuation rules, dictionary definitions, sentence syntax? Poetry gives you permission to not trust. The poem is unnaming, unlanguage, mine—how could I resist?”

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