1. claustrophobic clothes/secretly worshipping goddesses of depraved beauty/dancing on blistered toes/ the sound of many-eyed silence/ mother’s love & mother’s rules/ learning to paint people you could never be
2. shame of bare skin/ stripping white barbie dolls naked to see if they’re different on the inside/ a desert between your knees/ stories where they kissed & that was it
3. chastely kissing dad’s lips/ blood spilling out of your body & anne frank saying it is beautiful/ weeping for joan of arc
4. not fearing that time of month/ asking mum about sex & uncovering the burden of womanhood/ asking dad about sex & uncovering rape/ non-make-up/ reciting poems by patriarchs
5. blood spilling out of your body & not being able to tell anyone/ misspelling lesbian as ‘S-B-N’ (it was a whispered word, blasphemous to chant aloud)/ touching yourself & feeling shame/ breasts sprouting suddenly liked dug-up potatoes/ living in sepia/ but/ (dreaming in lurid technicolour)
6. mills & boons wrapped in newspapers/ allure of sleepovers/ playing with a friend you later discover is a boy/ beneath a sky black as a werewolf
7. the day before you severed the threads you wove yourself into
Archita Mittra is a wordsmith and visual artist with a love for all things vintage and darkly fantastical. She occasionally practices as a tarot card reader.