conservatism and liberalism combed his fingers through my hair that night.
…..I grabbed his hand and twisted its spokes through my thicket
…..and said I would peel his face back the way he peeled
…..a city back into a…..…..…..…..…..colony.
at the intersection
…..I sit behind the blinker the way I sit at a writing desk,
…..the smudged lines of my silhouette smoked blown,
…..legs peeled open like the loose skin on aged fruit
…..a salary is thrown like chips at dark bronze feet that
…..curl into hooks, a pelican eliciting dinner and floating wayward,
…..…..…..…..past the thickened velvet of dusk
did all this bronzed metal betray
…..borders birthed by barters, lungs spasmed, starved for air,
…..only to oxidize? do they spend the evenings like me, filling
…..a cavity of a body with love songs with their names in it…..…..until they echoe?
after the invoice, I separated documents into two piles: Aadhaar and “Amreekan”.
…..the last whit decomposed in the shredder like the faces that wept when I never left.
…..paper noodles escaped from the other end. bag disposed by its shedding handle,
…..touched by a trash compactor, one pile is emptied last. humble me.
I forget that I am somebody’s daughter –
…..is it pain that birthed motherhood or the birth that pained?
…..when I was born, my mother was a commodity and I slid
…..out an old woman. cheeks puckered like burned plastic, face wilted not unfamiliar.
when they air the footage the floods, the wound and gunshots, the moan and the cumming,
…..Appa asks me to turn away. don’t cry, don’t cry chinna. this country will never love you
…..and you dare not ever love it. this country is in love with someone else, robbing and
…..more sinister. that’s an affair. fuck him.…..…..…..…..………don’t you dare cry.
VRIDDHI VINAY is a South Indian queer feminist writer, WoC enthusiast, literary arts aficionado, and White Supremacist Callout™ fanatic who’s been published or has forthcoming work in journals and magazines like Rookie, Kweli, Inklette, Ascend Zine, and Penn Review. Read more at vriddhivinay.wordpress.com or stalk them on Instagram or Twitter @scaryammu.