Daughter of a Fisher(wo)man

poetry by AdithiRaghavan

Daughter of a Fisher(wo)man

& there on her charcoal countertop

              fistfuls of fish maddened to writhing tendons.

& amma tore apart each eel-slippery syllable

              with her leather fingers.


Summer glares at me from outside stained-glass lancets,

              rosy tints shadowed by dark thunderclouds paint my hallowed shrine.

Two times a day on these bathroom tiles I sit with an

              inked fork stitched between my lips as I rewrite my epitaph.


I confess: the sink fits me better than her kitchen.

              Yesterday amma drowned a white stag in the bathtub.

I avoided his doe eyes undressing my mouth,

              gutting spoken lies for every time

I silvered shoat into muscle then

              wedged crawfish-sheared hands between my legs,

searching for a Virgin Mary to take me with her.  


Outside two girls kiss at a lemonade stand.

              It tastes like honey, ginger, & lime.

The light wind lifts their white jasmine frocks to reveal

              sketches of innocence colored with red, white, & blue.


America, I beg you once again,

              teach me how to wean myself

into daughter: faithful and dreamless

              just like the motherless stag sleeping in the bathroom.  

American Victim

poetry by Adithi Raghavan

CONTENT WARNING: graphic violence. Please read at your own risk.

American Victim

For Parkland and countless others


Mother dreamt in blood again.


Dawn fractures into kaleidoscope:

              a bitter harmony.      

Quick, shots fired. I warpath. I relocate.

              I mottle fingers & pages with skin-feathers in pink coral

to paint my escape.


Under the legs of this yew tree I breathe the last leaf.  

              I am raven disguised by branches.

I camouflage native. My brownness grabs textbooks.

                            American History

              All the better to mask my face with.

Each chapter sings infected stories like scripture.  

              More false endings.


Next to me, frozen faces crumble like limestone statues.

              I know the angles of this story too well.  

Written in each edition of chaos theory: heartbreak—

He parts my breasts,

              guns me in my heart,

                            steals my matches—

the sun still rises again.


For once, let me hollow my body into

              its own harp-cry echo,

pull my own trigger,

              cleanse myself of ghost fingerprints,

                            & peel mud-stained skin to drape on

my empty coffin.


Let me wish all of this before the sun catches me in my sleep.


Adithi Raghavan

Adithi Raghavan is an emerging poet from Washington State whose poems have been published in several school literary magazines and online publications like the Apprentice Writer, Rising Phoenix Review, and Blue Marble Review. Her writing has also been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Currently, she is working on her first chapbook.