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indi Dec 2022
it's bitter,
the tab of validation on my tongue.
i should spit it
but you're looking right at me,
through me-
you're rolling on what i gave you.
my tongue burns, but i hold your gaze
i want you to see i care.
indi Dec 2022
i want to pour over you, heal you
have you get a taste of my love, open your mind just once-
but you cannot heal something wanting to hurt.
indi Dec 2022
"how are you?" you ask
"i'm good," i reply
i take your small kindness of a question and mistakenly imagine a future out of it.
indi Oct 2022
i was an awful liar-
especially when it came to 
my parents, their eyes 
always on me, drinking my presence in
their sole daughter. 

i didn’t think
of them when I sat on 
the sofa of the tattoo shop

soon, we were ushered in
who wants to go first?
seeing anxiety flicking over my friend’s face,
i volunteered. 

laying down on the table, 
I thought of my mom
who got a tattoo on her ankle when she was fifteen. 
she laughed when she told me, 
her and the tattooist chain smoked as he worked. 

are you ready? my artist asked,
extending his forearm in a stretch. 
a large tattoo of the Buddha stretched around it
smaller tattoos filled the rest of the space. 
i breathed out a yes, 
stress rippling through me as the machine buzzed
into life. 

i focused on the smell of the room
sterile, clean- 
all things I felt the opposite of. 
guilt sunk its teeth into me as the needle touched my skin. 

the needle itself felt like a boxcutter
my ribs a tightly sealed package.
pleasant, no
agonising, no
some sort of purgatorial sensation. 
gaining a tattoo,
losing that skin forever.

as it finished,
i examined the red patch of skin surrounding the ink in the mirror. 
guilt and giddiness coincided within me,
along with a strange sense of loss. 

this skin, 
grown and changed through the years
becoming freckled in the sun and pale in the cold
was gone.
in its place, the number 18. 

when i went home with my friend
the guilt was replaced by giddiness 
and flickers of nausea

i hid that tattoo until i was eighteen,
where i finally revealed it to my parents. 
they laughed and laughed
my mom pulling me close-
you must be your mother’s daughter.
indi Aug 2022
No one we knew had climbed the old grain silo in our town.
Hands clinging to rusty metal, I rose
Up and up with my cousin
The cold air biting our skin
Watching the ground below us get farther and farther away
of grass and packed dirt.
We would slip up once or twice,
my cousin’s leg kicking out from its hold
My clammy hand losing grip.
We climbed up and up,
feeling hundreds of feet tall.
hearts beating fast against the ladder.
She got up first, hoisting herself onto the platform
I followed, carefully manoeuvring onto the
creaky metal. We had done it.

It was right in front of us- the sprawling grass fields
peppered with barns and houses and the occasional tractor
spreading like a flood into the forest.

My cousin nudged me, pointing at the house
whose property the silo sat on.
A tiny man opened the door, walking all the way
until he was right below us.

We laid, bellies flush against the metal
Barely daring to breathe.
I tried to remember who’s idea it was to climb this thing,
who wanted it first.
It was me.

Squeezing my eyes shut,
I heard his steps retreat.
We waited for what seemed like hours to get down
And silently promised to never go back.

Now, the silo sits there, fully abandoned,
Inhabited by a barn owl,
Cooing echoing through it-
What was once a dare has become a home.
indi Aug 2022
Every other year, this reunion. All my life.
My uncle opens the door, trying to hug me-
I no longer oblige the way I did years ago,
stepping aside as he hugs my grandmother.

He awkwardly gestures us in.
The family sits on the sofas,
unease sifting underneath the carpet,
an undercurrent we pretend isn’t there.

Some things everyone agreed on, like
ignoring our ***** laundry,
pretending that it’s- we’re- okay
for grandma’s sake.

No one has forgotten.
My cousins stir their drinks,
stare at their nails,
barred from the teenage escape of phones tonight.
They’re younger than me-
not by much.
I always wonder if we’d be closer if I lived here
Probably not.

Even after all these years,
I still feel like I’m the only one who can sense her sadness.
She had history she doesn’t know I know about.
Her eyes sometimes catch on my uncle,
and each time it looks like she wants to say something heart wrenching
but instead, she averts her gaze and keeps her mouth shut.
I wonder what she would say if she tossed all caution into the wind
blowing away like ashes.

Meanwhile, my uncle bears the weight of conversation
somehow making it all about him.
No one actually wants to hear about his business,
his newest spiritual awakening
(Roman Catholic this time)
a once-every-seven-years occurrence.

I wish I could go back to when I didn’t know who he truly was.
Before he spit vileness at my childhood self,
before he attempted an apology over my grandfather’s dying body.

My grandfathers absence haunts this house
his books in corners
his chair my uncle so casually sits in.
He died in this room,
looking out on the fields sitting in front of our windows.
My uncle may have been his son,
but my grandfather would always tell me
there’s no one more special to me than my daughter’s daughter.

I sometimes wish I could forgive my uncle,
move on a happy family,
stay in their guest room and drink eggnog in front of a fire on cold Oregon nights.

But as I look at him divulging his oh-so-dramatic life stories,
I feel rage.
A hell inside me-
the kind he prays he will never experience.
I sit there and let it bubble, never too close to the surface,
and sit through the rest of the night
tucking away time into my pocket until they leave.
inspired by blood by margaret ross
indi May 2021
when i was eleven
older men always complimented me
i was apparently so mature for my age
yet so young and docile.
when i grew,
men stopped liking me.
too outspoken,
they'd say.
too difficult,
they'd say.
no fun,
they'd say.
and now often i wonder
why it the beauty standard
reflective of a little girl?
yet they are the ones who have made us so
women, now and then,
were not allowed
to be anything besides a ****** object
we were denied
the simplicity of childhood.
we were blowing bubbles on the sidewalk
when men drove by
catcalling us.
society hates our displays of sexuality
when they were the ones who sexualised us.
isn't it?
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