Gia Bharadwaj

in waiting

I’m in purgatory with the summer mosquitos,
peeling snakeskin from sun-drenched mangos.

I, swollen and stained with the silver of ghost
blood. Bugs blister my legs, mushrooming

doggedly up the thighs like zealots. Heat
balloons on my chapped tongue; the months

sweet as creamsicles and dreamfish.
There’s fruit festering in the bushes, all ripe

harvest ready. I’m in purgatory, searching
wasted sky for the blue burn of the Dog Star

sweeping sins. Sins: I once told my mother
to get a job during a game of war. She wept

shuffled the cards. I steal pennies from streets
unless spoiled with the aftermath of moss rust.

summer, steeped in weeds, I watched
the garden rot and scolded god for the monarchs

in my
throat. Smoke billows lend themselves to me
like ladybirds in flight, shed all the gospel I cannot,

like slugs into disappeared mouth. Mother,
we’re bullet heavy as heaven cackles. Mother, I only

you in memoirs, and I scar you to lick up
the slick of my wounds. Mother, I regret the salt

and spare change I kept. Here, it’s sweet
and still enough to tell you I bled first.

Gia (she/her) is a high school student from Massachusetts. Her work can be found in the Galliard International Review, Crashtest, the Augment Review, and elsewhere. She is also a Literary Apprentice for the poetry team at BreakBread Magazine and a co-founder of Chinchilla Lit, her own literary journal. Gia still can’t ride a bike, and her favorite snack is microwave popcorn.

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