ALTAR By Umang Kalra


“Despite My Efforts Even My Prayers Have Turned to Threats”
– Kaveh Akbar

I built the ocean out of broken
driftwood entangled like us
I built it in you
I built it in your lungs I spun
it out of the salt inside of the
sea shells you told me were pretty but
would not let me string into thread
for you

I hesitated to name you a god I knew
I watched how you flinched
at the sight of reverence you always
washed your hands when we left
a temple your mother had forced you to
go to I was always left wondering

whether you would wash your hands
just the same when you touched me
if you had known
that I had built your altar in the
back of my throat planted flowers
in between each of my ribs
from your lungs

By Umang Kalra


Umang Kalra is an Indian poet who splits her time between Dublin and New Delhi. She is a student of History at Trinity College, Dublin. Her poems have previously appeared or are forthcoming in Coldnoon, Blue Marble Review, Esthesia Magazine, and Quail Bell Magazine. She is currently involved in a year-long mentorship program with Doireann Ni Ghriofa for women of colour in Ireland.

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