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 “Now that I’m free to be myself, who am I?”
– Mary Oliver

I’d rather not stand in the sun,
where you and god and everyone else can watch me lie.

Instead, in the shadows
I tell you I am made of knots,
and you unravel a thread,
                                I come crashing apart.

Here’s what I don’t tell you, about regret being the vessel, I pour myself into,
the bleakness of a mind at rest, how it addles on the brink of
u n h i n g e d.
So I jitter when you put me together.

I imagine, in the future,
when I am still, only the summation of obsessions and yearnings, that evaporate at dawn,
I am forgiving.

I haven’t met myself yet,
too many punctured tires, and sputtering engines, broken down routes on the way here,
I keep stopping to wear another person, ghosts and all, on the way to becoming.
Walk around naked and mourn, but how do I wash the fingerprints off my dreams,
to live authentically, I have only lied.

I tell you about the memory I have hoarded for so long, it’s almost true,
about the time the night, stained and shrieked and opened,
and I walked into myself, and didn’t lose my way out.
I dived, and never hit bottom, I flew and the stars only beamed.
But outside of memory, I only trespass, I am both the sad tenant looking to tease the smoke out
of his bedroom,
and the passerby looking to warm his frigid heart.
I only envy the grass that grows through the frost.
Outside of memory, when I’m cold my first instinct is to set myself on fire.

Anureet Watta is a queer poet based in New Delhi. Their work has previously been published with The Bombay Review, South Asia Today and other platforms. They currently head the Delhi based artists’ organization, Forbidden Verses.                  

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