it is a bright orange sunday and my fists are unripening and i am still contemplating that baby albino turtle born with a wide open heart – so tender and exposed, a small pulsing blackberry abandoned by his own shell. i try to cup his breaths like running water with my two inconsolable hands; each one curls into a brown flaky scab, an unspoken word. have you ever worn loose linens in the summer, allowed them to swallow the sky and swell? did you run until your blood shivered into free verse? forgive the downward sink of your breasts, forgive the foolish prayer that won’t leave you. i swear i can hear the fragile laughter of my grandmother’s jewelry. i suppose we’re just shapes with hard vacant mouths, writing love-letters to faces and homes we carved out from clouds. the cat squeezes its patchy body against the radiator, ballooning with warmth. i wonder about that comfort, a river of welcome heat dancing on your spine. maybe there’s a pathetic beauty to reaching for medicine in all the wrong cabinets, like a honeybee entangled with silk flowers. i’ve been trying to break like a fever, unmake myself into slivers, catch up on sleep i lost years ago. when i close my eyes, this time, i won’t die.

Anoushka Subbaiah is an 18-year-old writer from Bangalore, India. She attended the 2018 University of Virginia’s Young Writers Workshop. Most of her time is spent making curious art and giving her dogs belly rubs.