closer to home
let’s set a scene: every past version of yourself
bubbles in your mouth like treachery. they take
your hands and give you a shadow
as compensation. you stand in front of an audience
and only hear how they scream at each other.
the places you’ve stitched onto your tongue are
aconite, and in the night when the air conditioner
rattles, you see faces sinking into each other.
dear diary. day one. take whatever. you run and run.
plastic chafing your skin. little lady, little limbs,
a little speech. slowly, you peel off the congealed
plaster and drag it to the garden, to all the people
you don’t know. there will be no funeral, no last
rites. you draw lines of all the guilt and guile they
spoke about, a little child’s voice saying chaand! chaand.
there’s a no parking sign, an empty lot, and you’ve
got a friend. she asks you when was the last time
you felt like this, and you’re sitting in the mirror,
no hand, no fight, no friend. she doesn’t smile. she
can’t. there’s a playground nearby, and god knows
how you felt there, thinking too hard about the
physics of falling and laying there on the ground of
the city you built. the birds nibbling at your earlobe
and the clouds smiling, your things unrusted,
a racetrack before you.
you take off and don’t stop.
closer to home was first published in Claw & Blossom.
Dhwanee Goyal (she/her) is a sixteen-year-old student from Maharashtra, India. An editor-in-chief of Indigo Literary Journal, her work appears or is forthcoming in Claw & Blossom, Cabinet of Heed, Kissing Dynamite, and more. Her Twitter handle is @pparallell, and her micro-chapbook, ‘Kasauli Daydreams,’ is out from Ghost City Press. She will attend Adroit’s mentorship program and Iowa Young Writers’ Studio this summer.