Submissions open for Wingword Poetry Prize 2020

craft

Aayushi Saxena

I am a canvas
not a blank one, no.
blank means fresh, hopeful
blank promises potential
I’m the canvas
that has been painted
over and over again
layer upon layer of dissatisfaction
of never being good enough
of always being altered, tweaked or completely remade
one facade over another
concealing what?
each coat of colour
morphs and blends with the ones before
at the end of which I now stand
a muddy lifeless black-brown
I am everything and nothing, all at once
so I ask myself
what am I?

throughout each day’s perpetual procession
from the shrieking morning alarm
to the hushed dinner-table conversations
(are there any?)
there come instances
flashes, like lightning
where I’m compelled, held at gunpoint
to wonder where my self ended.
my grades were never low
nor was my social standing
I was designed to outshine, to outperform;
so where did the end start?
in the unattended corner where I left all my suppers?
a cold helping of disregard sprinkled with misery
or the point where maa and baba
stopped checking in on me completely?
once the winds beneath my wings,
they now linger around the house
crowning me a silent reminder
of all they failed to accomplish

last year’s NYE
amidst the drunken madness
someone asked someone, “who out of us do you think would end their life?”
no sooner had the question ended
that my name rippled through the air.
I pretended to not have listened
but in my mind I asked them,
how would I end somebody who doesn’t exist?
who now is
but crumbled grit of glass
of the ceilings she once aspired to break
a muddy black-brown stain
decaying on a painting palette?
if I kill someone
who ceased to be who they were long ago
who do I really kill?

 

This work has been published in Beetle Magazine's July 2020 Issue

Illustration by Dhanashree Pimputkar


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