after Richard Siken

If you wanted to tell me something, I’m begging for it right now.
I’ve been waiting in the bathroom but the mirror isn’t giving me anything
new. You’ve told me this house is a body and this body is a home
but I don’t know if I can believe anything you say. I’m looking for a revelation
but aren’t we all? I rip off the wallpaper every December
but this time it doesn’t feel like moving. It creases against my touch,
moving further from renewal. Maybe you’re right about the first part.
How could I remove its skin and expose its secrets? You talk about light
like it’s running through our veins. I’m closing all the curtains
and pulling my head beneath the covers. This year if you want to paint over
the wallpaper I won’t stop you. I’ll fill the bathtub, let you wash the fright
off your skin in silence. False negatives, false positives. When you can’t sleep
think of the uncertainty between it all. I threw away the blueprints
last Christmas. Try mapping a body without having seen it. Maybe somehow
it will get easier. Maybe you’re right about the second part too. I don’t know
if I can just leave now, let this skeleton turn to calcium and dust. I’m trying
to show you everything I don’t understand. Please, just give me a chance.
I’m only trying to clean this mirror without ever obstructing our reflections.


Anika Prakash is a sophomore in high school and the editor-in-chief of Red Queen Literary Magazine. She currently serves as a co-news editor at Two Views Magazine, a prose editor at TRACK//FOUR, and an art editor at L’Ephemere Review. Her poetry has been recognized by the Adroit Journal and Writers’ Theatre of New Jersey and her work has appeared in Noble Gas Qtrly, Hobart, L’Ephemere Review, Halo Lit Mag, and deLuge, among others.