(a prayer for) the thriving season
admittedly, i have always found it difficult to pursue joy –
it is suspicious, being too light to hold onto, and too fleeting;
all it does is birth a hunger for more. i don’t want to crave,
i want perfection – untouched and holy. empty stomachs
have no use for joy, so i reject it for the dark and immaculate.
from the gaps between my ribs, it is easier to see my body
as being haunted by dust and memories, discarded
by the world. thus divorced from joy, i pretend to be hollow –
my body rooted like a deciduous tree, always shedding,
holding fast onto the ground to avoid being flung into the sea.
it has been this way forever. we are born whole, i think;
the disintegration comes later. i don’t think i fell apart
so much as crystallised into a compendium. what am i? a chaos
of transformations. how many women live in me:
starved, forgotten, buried? how much joy? i have carried fear
and regret on my shoulder-blades forever, let them curve
the line of my back, slow my steps. i have grown tired.
now i just grow. it hurts at first. i will remember my roots
and unclench them from barren earth, quench their forgotten thirst.
how long have i been holding onto dust? i am not atlas,
i am defined not by what i carry but what i choose to put down.
now i will come for joy with needy, sticky fingers, be ballooned by it,
grow large with it. i want to make the world joy-coloured, and light.
i am an amateur, not yet good at anything, so i will do things for love.
i will brush off deadness. i will come back into the world.
i will try to want to live. i am
By Trishita Das
Trishita Das (she/her) is a teacher and writer from Mumbai, India. Her poems have been published in anthologies and magazines including Sundays Mornings by the River, The Remnant Archive, Plum Tree Tavern, Ayaskala, and Narrow Road. She also enjoys fluffy dogs, culinary experiments and bathroom singing.