Sarah learns not to talk back to her elders when
the first time she tells her uncle to fuck off, her
mom washes her mouth out with soap. Sarah chokes
on the bubbles, vomits an hour later when the same
uncle smacks her ass (desire bulging in his pants).
Later, she sees a woman crying on the bus, snarling
at the bruises on her arms, and thinks that will be me
some day. Sarah watches television almost religiously
that week, shivering at all the right moments. Twenty
years later, there’s a bird curling over her right wrist
(a reminder that she made it this far) but some days
she can’t remember a time when she didn’t scratch
herself mellow. I’m sorry, everything is such a blur,
she apologizes to foreigners, sees the violence
in their eyes. (dumb bitch. leave me alone.) words
unspoken, twitch and curl into themselves. Her parents
died half a decade ago. Sarah thinks they must have
rehearsed it: the car crash, the funeral, the blank
gravestone, and their daughter slowly disappearing,
limb by weightless limb. so now, there is no one left
to cradle her head and scream at her for swearing
at the man who tried to rape her.
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.