sidedish of silence with a dash of complicity

divya iyer

orchids in their vase my body

floating outside of physical space i am

not a vacuum or anything other than

girlthing tethered by the edge of

silver strings & umbilical cords

i fear things like Cm scales
& soft things that are actually rotten

under velvet skin you are
nothing but a pile of worms

i wash my hands with soap but
they still smell of blood and death and

violence i wash my hands and dry them but

i cannot pretend genocide isn’t everywhere

and it scares me, like this acute feeling that

under my skin there are many ants

and they crawl. they crawl, they crawl

and with their six legs and strange bodies

they mess with my neurons until all i can see is

shooting stars. i mean,

fascism is one hell of a numbing machine,

i don’t even have fear to spare, i have accelerated

out of terror into nothing, my brainspace

a dissociation field & me being dragged right thru it

we live in the central city of the Badlands

and i never did drugs or got drunk enough to forget so

defence mechanisms are kicking in, my sober body

is at the fuck-it-all, the point of no return, the

i’m too depressed to go to uni, i’m too anxious

to look in mirrors, i am
not even a person i am just a pretty mockery of one

but i smile for the snapchat selfies that i send my best friends

each filter another sickly “i’m alright”

as if they can’t see the dark circles under my eyes

i’m too young to be this old. the world

keeps spinning, it
does not stop. i bite my lip. i look at my hands

& i don’t recognize them. i burn my tongue

on too-hot tea. i text her and i think

“there’s no way she could even care about me.”

and while i draw the blinds, all around me

the world burns. and floods. and prayers mean nothing.

i wash my hands again.