"Overgrown" by Umang Kalra

dip two fingers in

​​ to

​​​ yourself and

ask your body where it hurts:

some days it will shrink and curl

and cry and stain you red until

you grimace in disgust and wash away

the filth you have created, painting

rust, sunsets, poppies, life

onto cold, stark tile that weighs down

upon you like mountains

some days it will bloom, it will give you

an open field instead of tightly bunched up buds,

it will give you

​​ the smear of paint

on fingers as little as yours used to be, it will

give you hearts and thumping veins,

moonlight spun into your bones, your

beat in step with the shimmer of nighttime clouds

some days it will ask for patience,

it will ask for softness, silk and honey and

​ fluttering wings, beautiful

like they told you you needed to be, it will ache

for finger(nail)s, clipped like all of the words

that were at the

​​ edge of your tongue, swallowed,

too quick too sudden too big for your throat

to grow into

some days it will ask to be held, withdrawn,

only warmth and soft breaths on its skin, no hands,

no adventures claiming to make it their own

some days it will ask for shelter,

​​ for strength,

​​​ for armour,

​​ for a bed to fall into, too tired

to even meet the gaze of the sun, and

some days it will ask for weapons, for words,

for magic to sink its toes into, it will ask for greatness,

for screams and anger and other, darker things, all

seeped in honey, dripping

​​​ with the words they told you

to paint into the insides of your skull,

​​​ spat out to stain the earth,

a scar shaped like your voice, a temple

built just for you

Umang Kalra is a 20 year old Indian poet and student of History at Trinity College, Dublin. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, College Green Journal, Moonchild Magazine, Icarus, and others. She has served as a Prose Reader for Inklette Magazine and was involved in a year-long mentorship programme for women of colour in Ireland, under Doireann Ní Ghríofa.