for the girls who grew up too fast

Anushka Nagarmath

and somewhere in my memories we are still running in the heat of the afternoon, feeling the pebbles dig in between our toes/ we were the good girls with the hollow bones and hollow smiles, insides rotting with the need to swallow the summer sky till it scorched the hunger right out of our intestines /we were the ones with elbows the color of the sunset—reds and blues and purples blooming over tender skin, clumsy with the world, rib cage holding beating bruises that we would never really learn how to weep for/ outside, we let our mothers sing us lullabies about the way the moon hides behind the jamun trees/ inside, we were thinking about the dread of always waking in our own skin/ is there a word for girls who are ghosts haunting their own bones/ is there a word for the look in my mother's eyes when she sees me in the kitchen light, hands scrubbing themselves red in the sink/ is there a word for the pit in my stomach the ache in my heart the gaping in my soul that grows every time i hold pen to paper like my body is eating itself inside out/ is it love? please tell me it is.

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