things worth keeping

i once read a psychopath’s perspective
on what she termed “cognitive love,”
the way she tended to relationships
like weeds. it’s always a conscious
effort. and it’s investment.
people need
a little something to know their worth—

i remind myself this, finding my roommate’s cigarette
under the fold of the bathtub. last night, i only slept
four hours, but when i made coffee in the morning,
my deadened eyes still focused on that sliver of light
above the washing machine, its slanted panes.
it was a white gold only made to be witnessed
once, in the back of the kitchen, only at 7 am.
hours later, i watched a stained glass portrait of jesus
in an empty church. how light is so capable of bruising—

how it pulled me, and all my sacred things,
onto the floor. this is all to say
i’m not religious, but i know a thing or two
about architecture, the ways things take shape.
how a cigarette is a cylinder
that sometimes comes heart-faced,
chambers and all. how even a cognitive love
is worth keeping, with its jagged edges. how

in the late afternoon, trees play themselves
onto the ground, making spaces for us to pray.
i’m not saying it’s prayer—maybe it’s just a bird
finding leaf-lined sanctuaries in the concrete, a place to hold
still. it could be just the light, shaping something
into what almost looks like home.

Teja Sudhakar is a writer originally from Chennai, India, but now residing in Lexington, Kentucky. They are currently drafting a docupoetry collection surrounding the experiences of first-generation immigrant women in the South. They love their friends, their cat, and incredibly specific Spotify playlists.

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