Shruthi Shivkumar

Issue 21

cold girl’s sifting trouble

there’s something unbroken, romantic, about a building
condemned unto the east again. all that space,
a summer’s empty room.

inhabiting a body is easy:
it fills with alabaster wool…it wraps my ribcage
rail by rail. but living in one?

masochist. acres of joints, all the secret valleys of my wrists, ankles-
unfilled. drunk, pray, awake- next morning deals celestial vail.
the wrinkles of the road keep returning from the dead:

call it a tendency to forget, denying how they have been.
that self-defeating heart reaches to the pure,
makes an even face of things false and true.

i’m not leaden tonight:
only the crow lost in fleeces,
recordless. is this how to feel?


Source & Method

This found poem combines phrases from “It sifts from Leaden Sieves” by Emily Dickinson, and “Sad Girl’s Drinking Ghazal” by Hannah Cohen. I used the cut-up method to elucidate a new feeling of “settling emptiness”.

Shruthi Shivkumar, 19, is learning to lean out of her comfort zone. She is an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh, double-majoring in English Writing and Neuroscience.

Photo by Anh Vy