we rush, arriving late to the funeral
pyre on two hours of sleep.
singers chant dirges. i crane my
neck, disturb the smoke while
others gape at us. behind me,
great aunt sindhu mutters:
good god, she was such a slut.
and i want to peel an orange,
fit a slice in the gap between her
front teeth, if only to shut her up.
the asphalt sticks to my feet when
i leave, barefoot, dress flapping
around my legs. i am a giant bird
trying to migrate but i keep thinking
of that night i saw them coupling:
door sprung open & voice rising several
octaves like smoke from a forest fire.
Rachana Hegde is a sixteen-year-old poet from India who collects words and other oddities. Her work is a study in chaos and blurred memories, and she is dissonant in the company of strangers. Her poetry is forthcoming in Alexandria Quarterly and Moonsick Magazine. You can find her reading, drowsy-eyed, or at http://ink-smudgedfingers.tumblr.com.