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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



Glitter


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



Blackbird


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.

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