& the things I forget become the bodies I discard. I wear forgiveness as a second skin. Tunnel vision to renewal & a light that becomes earth. Thick mud caked around her limbs. We hold our own until our spines splinter & asteroids converge. A heavy secret. Indentations on her knuckles. The things we forget & the sacrifices we make, all just to hold on.



I knew him before it all / yes, he killed that man / but what killed him first? There are delusions / that exist only in desire. The air thick with worry / a body swollen with finality / a home with no exits. The hooks inside of him / tearing through layers of flesh. Each night / an unshakeable sense of fright. This is the price we pay / for imagining tragedy. 



Some nights, I wish that the pills in these bottles were bullets. 
The snow falls like gossamer flakes and I think of less beautiful things
falling: my hair twisted in helices, clumped around the drain. 
We sit on cold, hard, plastic chairs in a nauseating silence and you try
to see the electricity running through my veins. This mess of
copper wires and anatomic puzzle pieces, once a childhood explanation
for childhood ailments, has given birth to a galaxy of combustion.
The brightest star inside my body still won’t go, and the light
you see from the outside is burning through me. I don’t think I can
hold more radiance; the star glows and swells and begs my body
to fall to its knees. The fluorescent lights above me rival the
luminescence inside me, but no brightness can absolve this pain. 
I let my body drown in bedsheets. I let needles leave constellations
in my skin. I let faux angels flood my body with darkness to kill the light, 
all because I want to see the sky again. You say that it is flooded with stars
and drunk on fire, but I am stuck swallowing earth. 



The mouth that swallows the cosmos whole.
Let me rephrase: she presses a gun to my head
and tells me that a bullet can retrace orbits. 

I’ve never even seen a shooting star. She clips
her hair down to the scalp and I rub my skin
down to the bone. We are both stripped raw.

There are the things that dissipate in the
smoke of a dying fire. There are the scabs we
rip from flesh and the wounds we don’t let heal. 

Our bleeding organs left on dry, cracking dirt. 
Let me rephrase: we remove the only things
that belong to us and leave them out to dry. 

ANIKA PRAKASH is a sophomore in high school and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red Queen Literary Magazine. She currently serves as the co-news editor of Two Views Magazine and a poetry editor at Parallel Ink and Venus Magazine. She has received a Silver Award regionally from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for her poetry as well as her flash fiction. Her poetry and stories can be found on Tablo, and her opinionated writing can be found on Medium.