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MidWest, keep my name out of your mouth or else — -- poetry by Arush Desai

make no mistake & bury my half

devoured body under the tree we picked to murder next to interstate 71 i take to board airbus 320 to visit my sleepless

hometown half world away in south asia not pakistan my body will 

rot here decompose here please take vigil my ghost will 

walk through my sorrow my night shadows will 

rise from paintings i will make on the cupboard side wall 

i promised not to destroy in 2007 my eyes will 

swell with tortured desire & i will lay next to oshiwara river

stuck on the riverbank like a barnacle  

withering like post war kingdom &

extinguished like assassinated fire 

my wicket is down my throat will 

turn sour as oxidized apples  will

cut my esophagus prepared by my uninspired mother who will 

cave to the head of the household i will 

take great care of the snake plant wilting carelessly on the maroon balcony i once thought of skydiving from 

how squandered is my youth how forbidden is warmth frozen in my artisan hands how vicious is moon that purloins my sacred beauty how foreign is my family how lost was i how lost am i how lost will i be 


i am amphibian half death half life 

                                   i am powerfully powerless imprisoned in dreams of self colonization  

i paint white on canvas and declare it has faithfully changed 

i wound my spirit my bone almost everyday

i proclaim i can build sandcastles on shivering glaciers & tame tsunamis on deserts 

i say narcissus would accuse me of being captured in a tomb of vain

but there is one thing you should know you ought to know 

i fear the MidWest i defect the MidWest i hate the MidWest  

midwest i am afraid of what you know 

the weed i smoked next to the statue of a hybrid animal

                                      the 10% poisoned drink   

the hypothermia infections  

                    the kisses that entered my mouth in november  the 20% poisoned drink    

                                    the money i gambled on love    

the affair with the pastor  

                                                 & the urdu poet 

the time time was distance    

                                          the 40% poisoned drink

the chameleonness i succumbed to in ambered september 

                                               the music of rain 

& the rain of music 

                 my godly taste my godless touch 

my secret keeper kindly keep my name nameless my face faceless 

i am a reckless artifact between every legend i speak & misspeak i am a shipwrecked beauty of demolition 

keep my fear hostage MidWest this is not funny business this is my life this is my life please reason with me please 

i beg you next to the tree we picked to murder this story


Arush Desai is a writer who has been previously published in Cathartic Youth Literary Magazine and Short Vine Journal. He finds inspiration in everything: quantum physics, history, flowers, Lana Del Rey or his hometown, Mumbai.

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