a breakdown is sometimes sudden
like i am buttering the bread &
am reminded of my friend’s parents’ death,
both gone in the span of a year. blood
becomes a blur and i am letting
the light in. i sit on the floor, pale
& perfect like summer skin, and i
start to peel my orange, deliberate
in my movement and definite
in my rebellion against it. spools of fibre
in my hands, humble and haphazard
like all attempts to hold must be.
citrus fills the room,
floods it in small coughs,
rips me apart,
renders me immobile.

Swastika Jajoo is a queer poet currently studying theoretical linguistics in Japan. She won the second prize in the poetry contest organized as part of the international Glass House Poetry Festival in July 2020. She has been published with Riggwelter, Muse India, and The Huffington Post, among others, and her spoken word pieces have been featured on UnErase Poetry, one of India’s leading spoken word content producers. In April 2019, she gave a TEDx talk featuring poetry at her university. Her work is upcoming in Capsule Stories in December 2020 and in an anthology by Airplane Poetry Movement in 2021. She was also invited to perform with Rolling Stone India for Pride Month 2020.

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