Rigorous
Volume Five, Issue 4



Stuti Pachisia


We See a Crow and We Name it Teddy After Ted Hughes

The sky never ceases. Yesterday
a friend told me we experience
Atmospheric Twilight here: there is
No End to the sunlight. The sun never
crosses the edge of the sky: Suspended
at horizon, leaving the sky inky
blue. It will be morning soon.

A few weeks ago my room was filled with
Soft lilies, buds yet. When they bloomed, the
scent clung to my skin, settling into my earlobes,
pollen residue peppering the edge of my clothes.
I wonder if this is as close to hot girl summer
as we can get, if this is where our hopes finally
suspend, if this is how we remain beautiful.

Today, a dog came up and you left the sun
To reach out for it, saying it has been
Long since you were loved by one.
You patted it, pulling it close, even as it
set out to destroy our picnic, our delicately
laid deck of cards. Later, a crow as black
as the nights we are unable to have stood in grass
eavesdropping on two girls
slipping in and out of Hindi.
This was shortly after you said, laughing,
that I was obsessed with you
And I agreed. This was just before
you asked if I judged you, and I disagreed.

You reminded me it was okay,
I was only twenty three.
I smiled and said, yes.
It's okay.
I already have you, and
I’m only twenty three.




Incantation

TW: Mentions of Self Harm

Over dinner, someone said that someone
they knew was "not neurotypical”
because they react “Very Emotionally" and that
there were "Scars all over her arms".

I needled a napkin in my fist, looking down
at the table: the animals skinned alive, their innards
Naked and toasted on the table, the sound of
mastication, the reaction everyone would
have if I didn’t

bite down the urge to claw my
skin open with my bare hands.

I think of the therapist who
asked me to show what I do when I do it,
an emptied-out act of how visceral
hatred can be.

When my grandfather died, no one needed
blades anymore. I watched as my father
wrecked open his father’s skull on a pyre,
vacantly wondering what excuse I would make
to go buy them.

On holiday in Ho Chi Minh, lying in a tiny
cot by my parents' bed, my mind snapped in
Half. I laughed maniacally, biting
my wrist down like a rabid animal.
Even now, I am not sure which
Half survived and which half I tore off
from the flint of my very bones.

The last time I fucked, I clamped down on the
words "hurt me, please" with my own fist. Later,
I’d wonder aloud what was so wrong with
wanting to be harmed: the best sculptures are whittled
down lumps of rock, carved by blade to skin,
incisions splitting and revealing a human self.

It has been years. I am not a teenager
anymore, I do not starve myself
--that much-- anymore. I do not have to
hold my hand down to resist the urge to lift
the dinner knife, the urge to dive under the
table, the urge to grab a pen and disappear
behind the bathroom door, the urge to
take a train home, stand in front of the
mirror, uncase my eyebrow blade, to rip
my arm open, strip it at its seams, unspool
threads of skin and bleed openly over dinner.

Yet years since, one word
and I come unhinged.



Stuti Pachisia: “I am a doctoral candidate and poet based out of Cambridge, UK and Calcutta, India. My previous work has or will be featured in Plainsongs, Polemical Zine, Sheepshead Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, MOIDA Quarterly, Claw & Blossom, The Rialto, Capsule Stories, The Seventh Wave, The Alipore Post and Cleaver Magazine. Currently, I am the Contributing Poetry Editor at The Seventh Wave. In 2020, I was a finalist for the prestigious Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize, a national award for Indian poets. Twitter: @steewtweets.”




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