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can we get through dinner without choking on my guilt? -- poetry by Maitreyi Parakh

i’m not even human anymore, i know / i know this isn’t normal, that everyone else’s liver grows back overnight / that everyone else frees themselves from the cliff and makes it home in time for the sun to set / that i cry too much and not enough and i shouldn’t want to die / i’m

going to get better, i swear it to you, i swear i’ll set icarus on fire again and bring him to you if that’s what you want / if that’s what it takes. / why can’t i love you the way i should, the way orpheus sang all the way down in hell & why do i make myself narcissus,

the sidekick who thinks they’re the main character / the one that everyone tolerates but nobody likes (i don’t like myself either, but it’s not me that you’ll see soon, it’ll be someone better,someone who will accept your help / will cut the chains when you ask

them to) / someone who will care about me being on that cliff but not to try and save me, because i deserve it but we’re going to pretend like i don’t, like i’m not meant to be plucking my organs out of my chest each night & rolling a boulder up my neck

& standing in a waist deep pool of water with my feet stuck to the sand, as if the blood isn’t yours, as if i don’t love you / as if i’m not your second choice / as if it was my choice to burn my fingers on your sugar-sweet lips / as if i wouldn’t turn my skin inside out in the winter, wrap it

around your shoulders as a shawl / sacrifice my family just to hear you laugh and sink your teeth into the roots of an apple tree again / to see you rip the wings of the vultures around me / to hide your disgust when you inevitably find out that my blood runs just as cold as yours.


Maitreyi Parakh (she/they) is a teenage, Indian-American, bisexual poet from Seattle, USA. Her other assorted hobbies include consuming copious amounts of dark chocolate, losing bookmarks and learning anywhere from two to ten languages at once. You can find more of her work published or forthcoming in Thimble Lit Mag, The Artistic Differences Project, Paper Lanterns Lit and Serotonin poetry.

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