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2 poems

by Anusikha Halder

Anusikha Halder is currently a senior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California. When she doesn't have her nose buried in a book, or a bucket of popcorn at the movies, you can find her acting, volunteering, playing piano, and writing — though not all at once. She particularly loves a good free verse poem, and exploring themes of adolescence and mental health in her writing. Anusikha has attended the Kenyon Young Writers writing program, and received a Silver Key award for the 2019 Scholastic Writing and Art Awards. She continues to write and edit for her school's literary magazine, La Pluma.

Abecedarian Butterfly


As butterflies are to human

Bodies where do

Caterpillars fit into the analogy?

Dolefully, they ascend milkweed and

Even the treacherous world, only to

Finally cocoon themselves into complacency

Gestating, waiting to be born again

Hoping to emerge from darkness

Into brilliance: a phoenix from the ashes

Just what do humans do?

Kill their darlings and their younger selves

Let themselves be cocooned by others and their expectations

Maybe some become butterflies but

Now too many clip their wings

Open to no-one, especially themselves.

Persisting, but not flying

Quietly resigned to fall down to milkweed

Resting in the swaddle of sheets and

Solemn tears, bobbing heads

Tucked tightly into themselves

Understanding only too late how

Vile the life-cycle is, how

Wrong, how backwards

X-ray a butterfly and you will find a brain bigger than you imagined

You x-ray a human and you’ll find a heart

Zipped up beneath a rib-cage, bruised, sometimes broken.

Jamais Vu


Jamais Vu: a sense of eeriness and the observer's impression of seeing the situation for the first time, despite rationally knowing that he or she has been in the situation before.

We’ve crossed paths before, intersecting even

Fumbling in our missteps as we try to walk around each other

Sometimes we try to walk through each other

Invisible, or ghostly under the shade of an ash tree

But this time it feels like a first dance in this garden

Your arms are in first position, reaching out to me

And then abruptly you close them to pick up a shovel

I have never seen you with your hair up

Or maybe I have but I swear your hair usually falls down your

Face like a curtain onto a stage

This time the show is not over

I sit in the mezzanine and watch

Your smile and the way your eyes roll and how

Your mouth crinkles when you tell a joke

I miss because I’m too busy reading your lips

And committing your collarbone to memory.

We plant tomatoes and spinach in beds of soil in silence

Side by side but I spend most of my time

Staring at my feet

Because somehow the afternoon light has changed your face

And I am sure all you see are the shadows cast on mine.

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