like a Russian nesting doll, I try to hide my selves.
hollow myself out to cave
then release echo to chase her worries.
never found (story of my life)
but I feel her crying within me.
& you know narcissus, no.
what if it was him seeing himself
how echo saw him.
imagine seeing yourself loved like that.
I am the lake always.
smaller, how I wish it were as simple
as Alice’s shrinking potion.
some days I wonder
how all of me can fit in this body & still stay together.
how have I not spilled over?
so here’s to big things that are sea within me,
to violets & lilies
worries I dig from places I’ve forgotten
& root in my tongue so I can practice steam.
(how I am always trying to make something insignificant)
here’s to forest call & trying to order
(which means to hide).
to my highs, my lows, how I pack & repack
so often I feel intruder.
real me is a field mouse caught in august rain.
my body all lavender & tissue
boxed for the attic—
what is my real use?
how I crush & re-crush the feeling.
think it over & over but say nothing.
how morning me is not home me.
how driving me is not night me.
how work me is not dream me.
how I say things (after they have been said & done)
in ways they could have been.
and then that whole follow on of taking out & unfolding
& re-pressing & stammering—
I’ve lived a nonagon of decade,
a quarterpence of a century,
before you there was that era of thimble
& then after, I ate nothing but stars.
oh all the places where we could be—
how I can never get over anything.
S.A. KHANUM is a writer from the UK.