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this page will have real feelings 

meaning there is a punchline 

gut kicking the intestines 

asmr swoosh of contradictions 

          not a jenga tower of blahs— 

my aim is to spark something 

as in when you can laugh 

unfreaked about excess 

as in when you can tug 

at an ache by dress pins— 

most days i wait for a moment 

to sink its teeth into my grammar 

dashing past the white noise 

that whispers you’re freaking out 

stop now i am cool, so cool 

to answer: what makes you 

happy, what breaks your heart 

will beat me into um and ah 

          hardwiring to trigger control 

i keep buffing my words 

atomizing provocations

till the taste is anaesthetic 

          mock meat soup 

          for the soul


press of ceiling on saliva
treacly walls concave to make room
for endless craving when there is no
incision left to lick i ingest nooks
and crannies so far i have swallowed
in big mouthfuls chilli sauce books
colanders bubble wrap money
cactus thorns antiseptic bars
a dead terrarium monet’s water lilies
i lose the urge for tobacco and tea
but lights taste like smoke
my gut is a mixed feeling 

when i bloomed a tongue
my mother said we must eat
everything on our plate

Sohini Dey is a writer and editor living in New Delhi.

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