Grammatical Gender

I.Heteronyms


I’ve followed my shadow for as long as the two of us can remember.

Once a month, she takes the lead by example for a few scattered, crimson days.

I watch her and then reach between my leaden legs for a sign and find violence where there isn’t any.

The world rushes to her aid when she tears up, and I wonder what sets those drops apart from mine.

Mine are quieter, staccato sobs that must tear apart for an accidental audience.

Some days are darker than others and she recedes. I find us on the other side of Cupid’s bow. She hides and I come out to explore and crave for the bearing of the wounded.

She caresses, while I examine. She makes love to an equal and I, to an ideal.

If there were an interventionist God, they would find me bowed down, praying for the make of a man.

I would ask for tougher sinew, a closer roof and deepened laughter.

They would look this so-called woman right in the eye and nudge her over the edge.

They shall call it manslaughter.


II. Homophones


When was the last time you looked at the back of your own head?

The eyes don’t access as far as the hand reaches.

The world in your palm, the excess in a blind spot.

Mother had asked me why a drag queen was my idol.

I scratched at an idle nape, told her I wanted to grow my hair out.

She stood mouth agape, mirror tilted just so in hand and pointed at the unseen

The scene of a boy in over his head, found before he was lost.

Hair dyed, face painted, I asked her if she would love me the same.

She told me her interventionist god said her son had died.

I had my cross the shorter side up, Bach for choir and the pages of the Book turned.

Mother had left, I was in the right and so did I.

When was the last time you looked at the back of your own head?



III. Other


I walk over to the other side sometimes, simply to touch the grass and see if it is greener.

It is not, more often than it is.

I water it, aspire to nurture it, gaze at its growth, pursue its progress.

But I take to motherhood as water takes to oil and like takes to like.

Would you kill my child if I asked you to?

Would you let me confer upon you the title of an interventionist god with a lawnmower?

The meadow is illusionary. Hues of green manifested by nothing beyond envy.

I understand little of the other and lesser of myself and yet I seek to change and not change.

The world owes us nothing and yet we continue to make demands of it.

And in my demands of the other, I’ve forgotten my own.




Nitya is an aspiring writer from Bombay, India. She writes about important things that are deemed unimportant and seeks to write her way out of the corporate world that her ongoing engineering degree will inevitably lead her into.