by Tanisha Rao

the Me I know today
hadn’t always been so. She came about
in new uniform: new brown skirt and shirt
and gleaming shoes and eyes. She happened
when her hair was pinned neatly by mother’s hands
and laces tied by father, while she sprinted the lateness
to the bus every 7:30 in the morning

She happened  in nostalgia,
amid the sights and sounds of screams, and wails and laughter,
during recess. She grew older and her name lived, known
only to the later senior girls on the 3rd floor
of the girls’ washroom mirror that had come loose
and held under it; like a child treasuring her favourite plush teddy:

My name.

To be remembered, as our voices used to ring
like the bell after class, ringing
and reminding that
We rooted here, that we were twice-born. Here.
that our screaming, shouting and recess rampage and innocence once shook
the hallways, that countless pens were strewn about without their caps.

We were scared the way chicks hesitate on a nest’s threshold
make the plunge in a world, we acknowledged as harsher.
We wanted to leave a crumb somewhere, for
the kind-eyed teachers, we adored
and the ones we didn’t
in the hopes that in the unlikeliest of probability
Someone would recognise me, us,
years from now, in some other part of the world—
from a precious hushed moment

That we made a home here,
atop the shiny basin countertop and white floor, white walls
immortalized in silly girl scrawls
and sad scratching and names of so many gone before
that the cleaning lady and her stricter sponge never could mar it, she
couldn’t bear

Ridding us of our soft histories.


Tanisha Rao |

Tanisha Rao is a 17-year-old Indian girl from Mumbai. She feels one with felines, paint and words for wordless emotions. She lives on south-Indian filter coffee and grapples with the ambiguous. She has been published in the second issue of the L’Ephemere Review. Find her on tumblr reblogging literary/cat posts @tempestintext.

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