» Poetry


What do I do now? There are no maps


No brushstrokes gesturing to where I could have gone,


Whimsical curlicues pointing my way.


No celluloid images flickering my history at me.


“To become who you were meant to be, you have to kill the past.”


Is that what I have done? No phone calls with my parents for nine years.


Who gave me the right, one other human children never had, to


Sever that bond? To act like I’m made of metal, wielding a light


Saber that manufactures their consent. How many years


Am I allowed to stay this light? No burden


Other people roll their eyes and put up with. “Oh, Dad.” “Mom, please.”


When she decided nothing could stop her pulling me


Into her bed. When he explained how I would always deserve


Being cursed. “Beyond the pale?” But what if we were always


Too far behind the dark? Dark behind dark,


Moving where people couldn’t see.


Chaya Bhuvaneswar

Chaya Bhuvaneswar is a physician and writer with work in Narrative Magazine, Tin House, Electric Lit, The Millions, Joyland, Michigan Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. Her poetry and prose juxtapose Hindu epics, other myths and histories, and the survival of sexual harassment and racialized sexual violence by diverse women of color. Her debut collection, White Dancing Elephants, was released in October 2018 by Dzanc Books. She has received a MacDowell Colony fellowship, Sewanee Writers Conference scholarship, and Henfield award for her writing. Follow her on Twitter at @chayab77 including for upcoming readings and events.