For an immeasurable amount of time, my life was cocooned by blackness, with no company but my own thoughts.
I must be a mannequin that grew sentience; in that strange nightmare of feeling wrong and untouchable, rhythmic sins in my mind flow down like ropes of bile, unlovable, undesirable, repugnant and perverted, I reel from it, sometimes revel in it, repeat it and accuse myself of it, generous self-hatred bears a fearful prize.
‘Skewed/Silenced’ self-portrait by Natasha Tareen: 2021, oil paint.
When I die
Where will my loved ones see me buried?
Within the fired synapses of people I cared for
And held gently in passing thoughts that
Evaporate like soft steam from morning tea
Full-sized mirrors surrounded Cat, forcing her to gaze at the empty stares of a woman’s silhouette. Her arms were crossed, and she was cradling a baby. A smaller, hand-held mirror materialised neatly into Cat’s hand, becoming inundated with memories—forcing her to fixate on forgotten dreams gone by. Her gaze lingered on Ian, the deepest and most regrettable desire of her heart.
‘Luna Sangrante’ by M. Constance: 2021, digital art.
Blackout poetry by Lily Iervasi.
‘Angel of Death’ by Taylah Livanes: 2021, digital painting.
Despite the stark difference between a soldier’s need for slaughter and the relentless research of the sage, they were one and the same in the end: naive wanderers—none of whom would ever know the sun’s warmth again. If one believed everything they heard, at least. Around me, these tales upon tales were all eagerly dismissed—but still… still, I wondered. Perhaps I am one of many. But I am no man.
One summer, your mama took us to the forest to collect Schnittlauch.
We came home and mixed the Schnittlauch with our pancake batter,
and I was happy, because these pancakes were not sour, or familiar like our Dosas.