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1 poem
by
Laleh Gupta

Laleh Gupta is studying English and History at college and contemplating a double major. In their free time you can find them nibbling on tasty Indian sweets or thinking about old architecture.

Feeling Brand New in the Grocery Store

The shirt you are wearing billowing 

like a dream or patch-work—tell me how 

you palmed down the sides of my building 

looking for places to hide, and when I asked, Do you ever hunger

 

you shrugged and pulled out the neighborhood grocery store 

from your pocket. It was folded into a square. 

 

When you yanked out the legs of the rabbits 

we captured during the starving winters, the smell 

of something living leaking down the floor

 

was inescapable. We were dressed for a funeral 

when we feasted. 

 

But all that and still the ache for warm 

soup, pleated hands, clothes untouched by accusing fingers. 

For the floor to be a firecracker against bare feet.

Maybe we’ll get the ladder and lick 

the blood out of the ceiling fan, and maybe the red will ruin 

your good shirt and it will be okay. We will toast 

 

to our second-ago selves like, God bless those idiots! 

And I’ll go to the bathroom and dance with the confetti. 

 

Forget excellence. Forget the reason we’re all here, 

which is that everyone is tired and grieving, yet… 

 

The shirt I am wearing is billowing like a dream: 

me warden inside nightscapes. Me lone survivor underneath 

the blood on the linoleum. Me torturer of good things 

in the butcher’s shop.              According to the clocks, 

it’s our last year;

 

so I confess: sometimes I get hummingbird-still. Which means 

that I can love, somehow, despite being the horror stuff 

of nightmares. I can look at the turn-tables of the merry-go-rounds

and not see something broken. That I can forget 

the want to twist myself into new shapes like putty. 

In a second,

                     I blow into my hand and the rabbit regurgitates

 

(an unbecoming of dialogue),

 

the building seals itself shut. Hello, I say to my house, empty 

as ever, and there is no reply.