my mother takes my wrist
and pries it open. i ask her to be
gentle, amma or it’ll leave a scar
and she says she raised me
stronger than that. my wrist
unravels, an unwilling bloom.
she brings it to her lips and
blows away the dust-blunt skin.
i ask her to steer clear of my face
and she doesn’t. i ask if i can rub my eyes
and she says no. my wrist laid flat
on the table and she traces the veins
to their logical conclusion. i feel
her fingertip make landfall at the
crook of my elbow, the burn it leaves.
hold still, she warns me. acupuncture
with the blade of her nails. tell me where
it doesn’t hurt. cradling the bloody heaving
wound she buried alive like she never would
a lover. wincing at the pulse against her palms.
at its refusal to quiet down when she
bruises it. she tracks the arteries back to
the cut and tells me she doesn’t know
how to sew it shut. the thread wouldn’t hold.
i say it’s alright, i’ve never minded decay
at the seams, and at any rate i could use
a scar or two. she raised me stronger
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.