atlas hands


art by sofia sears


A poem by Rachna Shah 

i. born

Sweat gathers upon brow, opal-shaped teardrops exerted

Minutes trickle downward, agony-filled moments

A pinch of pain, then a roar of pandemonium erupts

Birthed is a wrinkly creature, blood-covered body

ii. childhood

The world is carved from dreams of tarts and sweets,

She spends hours upon the ice, tracing images with plump figures

Wobbling upon the creaking layers of ice, ready to tear.

Her mother braids golden strands, weaving them tightly.

They smell of jasmine-scented flowers, simply ethereal

She lives in a world where friends are made easily

Compliments and flattery enriched with truthfulness

Friends are forever, siblings are the worst

iii. change

She perches upon feeble tree branches, cloaked by the darkness

Winter whispers its arrival, a blanket of snow covering the earth

Worn fingers, yellow-stained nails, wrap around lead pencils

Graphite digging into white paper, smudged by tears

Pandora traces upon brightbright pills and swallows;

Her brightbright red hair plummets down in fiery flames

Tears cling to orbs of light, ink-stained cheeks wiped and flushed

She makes a promise to herself―

Nobody will ever see her cry again.

iv. spiraling

Bare feet trod across cracked pavement, a mist of smoke swirling

From scarlet tinged-lips. Time ticks in broken ears,

Violet orbs narrow, burning into a golden wristwatch

White plugs into ears, head tilted towards the ground,

Feet rushing past, never looking to the sky

This is not a fairytale―time beats slowly

Until it does not beat at all; her fingers shake

Stained with nicotine and faded dreams, face crumbling

She’s something of legend, really―

Stale eyes to never flicker with hints of sentiment

Chartreuse fabric clings to layers of skin pulled taut

They are waiting to break, bursting at the seams

The corner of her mouth curves upward

The smoke swirls up towards the sky, bitter stench filling her nostrils

Takes a deep breath, another puff

Most smoke for thrill―she smokes to die.

v. mors

Pandora greets death like an old friend, arms opened wide

The weight of life is the heaviest of them all,

It falls to the pavement crushed―

Time stops; death is a world carved from dreams, really.

Fiery tendrils match the pits of despair

Oh, what a wonderful world this is

(And we tell children to learn from us,

When we should be learning from them.)

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