top of page

Birds Of January and other poems by Kanupriya Rathore

Birds Of January

Things have to happen, for me to

believe I am real

I need to be hit, or I need to see

my name on a hardcover

another winter gone

I swear I didn’t see a single bird

you ask me to hold the kite up higher

when it takes flight

you squint up at the sky

looking for something to cut

I am wearing my happiness as often as my tennis shoes

I almost hugged the nurse at the urologist’s

for carrying a cup of my piss

like it was nothing

I laugh when you say

you want a daughter with my eyes

but in my mind

I’m holding her already


You don’t want to have children

because you feel sorry for your mother

she said. I despise my mother. I lied.

I liked to lie for no reason

she liked to cut my crease with a black so heavy

it was hard to open my eyes

I placed glitter on her lips, careful to not

wet my finger

She gave me a book, an anthology

edited by a man who never loved her back

I’ll never read it. I told her as much

But I do. When I’m bored

when I miss being opened

and misunderstood

Other Worlds

I met you in the rain. It wasn’t special,

just wet outside the restaurant.

I squeezed myself under your giant umbrella.

You must have despised me immediately,

how brazenly I asked for what I wanted.

Now I’m tangled in your blue comforter,

fish thrashing in the current.

I know I look good. My waist shrunk to the size

of your two hands, so small,

it’s as if I weren’t here at all.

Out on your terrace

I smash a puddle with my bare foot.

I imagine the ripples

washing across all my other lives,

better lives,

where I never met you.

The Princess And The Frog

In my grandmother’s basement

over a plastic jar full of makhanas

Shikanji, uno, and a fat joint

I tell her I’m in love again

she tugs at a strand of bleached hair

don’t let this one break you


It’s an old habit, she can’t keep her

hands from her hair

even when she taught me how to kiss

she tugged at her own braid

to show me how boys liked it

we were twelve, our bodies golden

swelling with the promise of more

but I had seen

the raw patch on her head

pink from uprooting


Back In my grandmother’s basement

I smack down the winning card

as if I’ve won, as if she’s real

and ask if she misses me

she swirls her soggy straw and says

it's easier being gone


when we were still twelve

she told me how much she loved

princess and the frog

The story of a true love’s kiss

back then I didn’t know what it meant to hurt yourself

but I must have known something

when she slept

I would hold her

I would take her hair in my mouth


I once saw a blackbird outside my window.

Her onyx eye blinked, sharp like a bell

and disappeared,

each feather tracing a different story in time.

I don't think she saw me

but I wonder what she saw,

for twenty-seven years.

If I didn't love her

I could have been her.

Every day, the sky opens

to my window of waiting.


About the Poet:

Kanupriya Rathore is a Jaipur-based artist currently concluding her Masters in English Literature. She is a big fan of sunshine, poetry, feral cats and yapping. Her work has previously been featured in the ActiveMuse Literary Journal, the Wingword Poetry Anthology, Tilt Magazine, Usawa Literary Review, Blahcksheep Journal and the Madras Courier.

83 views0 comments
bottom of page