To Be Emptied by Deeksha Verender


Art by Camille Pissarro

To Be Emptied


The silence in the waiting room sits buzzing in the crook of your ears.

It will stay with you for years after this, after the pain in your abdomen ebbs away,

And your underwear is no longer stained with the dark Rorschach blood,

But in this moment, you hardly notice it.


Instead, you are thinking about your body — if it is still your body, if it will

Remain yours after this. This morning, you looked at your reflection, saw it lined

With blue, like a crayoned shadow of what you could have given, a phantom cradle

Stood beside you, your hands alone rocking it back and forth.


When your name is called, you are still. Somewhere inside you, something is dying,

And something else is being killed, it no longer matters which is which. Sixteen, and

All you have ever known about love is lying in a heap beside you, the cool graze

Of your fingers across your stomach, the slight swell that answers.


There will be moments in this life where you will stand somewhere holy and ask

The hollows in the air if it will ever leave you, the faint cries in your dreams that never

Seem to cease, the sudden twinge in your chest that sees you writhing crippled on the floor,

Still, when the next boy asks you if you ever want to be a mother, you almost say


You already are.



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