Hopes I Thought I Threw Away by Anushka Srivastava

Every time you place your hope 

in the upper shelf of the closet, 

there will be a crash.

They say a metal must break to avoid death

so you will let your heart bare open 

until it begins to bleed,

only to convince you

hearts don’t shatter like a ceiling

hearts, they ooze out a pipette 

composed of voice and valor

not convinced to believe

“20 is too young an age”.

That adage pasted on your wall

to try and lock the brazen rages

that protest through tweets and tweaks 

in passive-aggressive Bernie Sanders memes

for another voice to be heard,

Yes, you mislocate your context

against a censoring pandemic

that senses fear

You crawl into the misery of 

doing not enough,

of being not enough,

enough times to displace you from your present

into a December that had raged loud,

into a street that felt closer home than Home 

had promised it would be.

It’s hollow

only a hullabaloo of privileges

jarred open every glorious Monday 

through sly and slithering tones of smooth statements

jagged enough to sanitize

the smell of protest and hope all at once 

till despair takes over

You see them come home

fighting over frustrations misdirected in the least

receding only to random musical evenings,

 for a family reconciliation to happen 

and it happens in the meanest of ways 

only to let another heart ooze out a pipette.

The news will be loud, 

louder than the horror of you 

who couldn’t see outside you

at Ward number 36 

an old body that fights but

you are not allowed inside.

You will lock down your tokenistic presence 

in a classroom or inside the washing machine 

and let it get washed over by breakdowns that reaffirm

your fight was not enough.

It will glisten with fear

through a WhatsApp chat abandoned midway 

because you both couldn’t fight it right,

It will start with

a dozen utensils un-cleaned,

a television in dust,

a stain of the pandemic,

and you will fight it every day.

Dear self 

lost-in-the-shadow of a yesterday,

every time you place your hope 

in the upper shelf of the closet, 

you will take it down at midnight 

before it crashes 

and weave it into a dazzling rage 

hung up in the dark of a 3 AM poem.

It will glisten with fear,

You will fight it anyway.

Anushka Srivastava (she/her) is a student of M. A. English from Delhi University, India. Replacing her rage and rest with a sip of poetry, she writes to fill the gap between creative and critical. Her previous works have appeared in The Graveyard Zine, Love Letters Mag, and more.

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