THEY NAMED HER GODDESS (we called her girl) | Uma Dwivedi
doesn’t know how to cross calendar lines.
she tucks herself into pockets of shadow
and folds herself smaller. collapses;
too dutiful to supernova,
she crumples like tinfoil.
no one gets hurt this way.
sometimes uma lets tap-water
run over her hands until they burn.
she washes her hands red and thinks
about the sky, choked and blue
as the underside of a veined wrist.
sometimes uma can’t breathe.
she wrings out her lungs
and tells herself there is a cleanliness
in being empty.
sometimes uma can’t believe herself.
she makes a list of the voices in her head
and gives them each a name.
it’s hard to hate something you name.
it’s hard to hate someone who named you.
sometimes uma doesn’t feel like crying.
this does not happen often.
sometimes uma showers just
so no one can hear her.
sometimes she wishes she wasn’t so good at this,
tips her head back and lets her mouth
fill with water.
sometimes uma runs her fingers
along the scar tissue
between stars. breathes.
her lungs squeeze themselves dry.
for a moment,
she feels clean.