hair spilling / like crowfeathered blood / razor hums wiping away / ink-scared wrists
and mama says / no more girl / no more woman
i wake, and she is hanging by the ceiling fan / again. bloodless girl
ripping/rippling apart / like still water breaking.

mama calls me back inside
fevicol sticks strands of hair on my scalp.
mama says / your feet are those / of goddess-child / footsteps teaching
pavements how to burn under / the sun.

i say, all roads lead back to:
temple taking shape in lawcourt halls,
holy diya, brimming with oil, flickering / and learning to die.

*Fevicol is a brand of adhesive popular in India


Rishika Aggarwal is a 22 year old poet from India, currently studying for her master’s degree in English Literature. She’s been reading for as long as she can remember, and dreaming of being a writer for about as long. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in The Rising Phoenix Review and Sapphic Swan. You’ll be able to find her (and more of her work) at Her new chapbook is #FDD017 (Golden), and you can find it here.

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.