weapon in translation By Sandhya Ganesan

weapon in translation

language carves my mouth into
the barrel of some misshapen gun.
words like to think they’re bullets
but they’re really shrapnel: all accidental
trajectories, edges that can’t decide
if they want to draw blood or not. usually
they settle for bruises. i hold language
with the wrong hand and my finger never
leaves the trigger. i melt down the name
my mother gave me for ammunition and
its syllables beg for mercy. language
as burning city. language as my hands
trembling as i jam the cartridge
between my teeth. i can’t pronounce
my name the way scripture has it
so i take it to the range until i recognize
the blood. language as firing squad.
mother tongue as ruin. language as a gun
i can’t fire without flinching.

By: Sandhya Ganesan


Sandhya Ganesan is a high school junior from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has been recognized nationally by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and she serves as a poetry reader for the Aurora Review. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys teaching coding and drinking jasmine tea.

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