i pick my teeth out, fingers stained red and tongue
skating over empty gaps; practice speech sitting
cross-legged on a bathroom floor, rot resting
at the back of my throat and winter wrapping
corrosive hands around bare skin. if i try hard
enough, could i hew the personhood from myself and
drag it spooled shapeless, luminous down the streets
of a ruined city like the split-throat corpse of hector —
if i cast myself as achilles, then who do i grieve?
who spilled the right into my organs, into
the open space of my stomach? i attempt to hollow
myself out, but there is only bone and soft flesh, and
winter covers my mouth when i ask for forgiveness.
winter catches my spine with a claw when i beg
permission, and want bleeds cold, bright out of me.
just let me stand: i toss a bag of uprooted
teeth into a black-watered pier and turn my back.
winter drives me away with a lifeless body tracking
behind us. don’t undo it, this once.
Kavi Kshiraj is a queer, Indo-American poet found in New Jersey. They spend time on hobbies such as writing, D&D, and their various identity crises.