Teacher asks me to speak, asks me to
sigh, asks me to be dramatic & shy (please?).
Nobody ever says please. In my mind a crane
is shifting and juddering to a halt. I’m the girl
sprawled breathless, drawing myself nude.

Model 1, Model 2, Model 3. I host a fashion show
in a dark room, flashlight bouncing off the walls.
I thought Teacher would like it: the privacy,
the quiet. I thought she would want the fabrics,
(before) tearing, (after) displayed. Mom wears
the clothes home, I watch her change into another
dress, lipstick staining front teeth, tongue hiding
from a man in a black suit. I thought she enjoyed
it slow & soft. Tried inhaling in an room full of
people and I stopped crashing into the artwork.
I’m too busy ripping up paper to do my homework,
at a class full of students once. Anchor sinking
under the weight of my fear, dress puddling
around thinning hips. We don’t speak about death
says Mother and I talk about shredded cheese/
obscure literature / mind warping & breaking/
hovering and swallowing itself whole. In art class
I paint a self-portrait: head swallowed by a
black hole suspended from the ceiling,
birds flitting through memory gaps.
I don’t know who I am, I said when Mother
asked why I drew something so savage.


Rachana Hegde is a sixteen year old part-time poet from India who collects words & other oddities. You can usually find her reading on her kindle or sitting cross-legged on her bed, trying to brainstorm. She dreams about characters from abandoned writing projects and her poetry is forthcoming in The Fem and Textploit. Read more of her work at www.ink-smudgedfingers.tumblr.com. Find her on Ello, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.