A poem in which the body is allowed to breathe

I am tired of looking for the answers
my body should be.

Of sculpturing a self
    that can slit
        every arrow-breast.

Can’t I just be
      a weak blue shirt
worn by its own

A newspaper
      wetted by a cat
on the porch?

Can’t I just be
            a rotten fish,
an over-sucked
month-old rice grains
      smelling like
my mother’s
      breast milk?

I want to raise my mind
the way I’d raise a child––

  over & over
      through the bow
          of his own feet.

      like a red ball
the stump
    of an oak tree.

And once again––
    can’t I just
    tip into the wind
        like a polythene bag?

Get barbed on a wire
meant to ward off thieves,
& flail my legs there––

          however slowly?

Trivarna Hariharan is a gender-queer writer and pianist from India. She has studied English Literature at Delhi University, and the University of Cambridge. A Pushcart prize and Orison Anthology nominee – her poems are published or forthcoming in Duende, Entropy, Stirring, Atticus Review, The Hunger, Whale Road Review, The Shore, Rogue Agent, Chiron Review, and others. She has authored two collections of poetry – Letters Never Sent (Writers Workshop Kolkata, 2017) and There Was Once A River Here (Les Editions du Zaporogue, 2018). Besides writing – she has received certificates of distinction in Electronic Keyboard from Trinity College, London. You can read more of her work at trivarnahariharan.com

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.