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She/They -- poetry by Rachana

There's this smell I can't quite trace

It's spreading, tentacles coming for my throat


Detonating the tickers within my brain

I've inhaled copious amounts

Of sweat, of blood, of liquor, of fear, of shame, of guilt, of paranoia

And I know this isn't paranoia


Something's dying

Hopelessly disintegrating

Something detested and neglected

Turning into unrecognisable mush

The vapours are quarreling with the starved cells in my body

The fumes corroding through the lining of my throat

This might be a good time to lick my wounds

But I can't spot any worth the nursing

So I dig into myself

Like the day I dug my heels in the ground hoping to hold on

I taste the brine that tickles my lip

I reach my tongue down below my navel

Pardon me for forgetting the part

That felt too alien to be mine

It's overwhelming here

The fumes grow caustic and

feel abrasive against my tongue

Can a tongue ever feel abused?

I don't mind it; it feels familiar

The chuckle that follows disgusts me

I recoil

Dense revelations settle down

My head feels immersed in the clouds

and the smell; it...

its seeping out of my pores

I feel my abdomen turn in turmoil

My uterus yells at the woman I've been or lack thereof

It's dying with my desire to be reduced to a reproductive system

It's dying with my dysphoria of entering "female" in application forms

It's dying with the the corpse of the girl I've been forced into

It makes the edges of my lips curl up

This death is a celebration; a rejoicing

It makes me recognise the image on galvanized silver

I loathe having breasts freely

and long hair

and conflict between my thighs

The stench of death relieves my tensile sternum peering at snapping

My body feels mine

and my mind is in clear, placid water

And I can see

And I can taste

And I can hear

And I can feel


It's new

it's terrifyingly authentic

White knuckled panic that I know will not leave me trickling red brine

I touch my skin and it feels known

I'm not viewing myself in third person anymore

Using my pronouns no longer takes hyper - nay unnatural - consciousness

I, me, my flow naturally


Rachana studies in Delhi Public School, India. If she's not chasing a mountaintop or an adrenaline rush, catching butterflies or her breath after dancing, then they'll probably be debating or on clandestine missions to empty peanut butter jars. They're an avid reader and writer who enjoys surrealism, classics and feminist literature and their intersection inspires her work.

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