Borderline Poetry

Two Poems by Shringarika Pandey

To non-medicated mornings

I spend the morning thrashing
    next to chipped white walls,
you cut open slices of apples 
   and hide the knives wherever
you always hide them.

On bad days, I turn into a walking
   mausoleum ready to be
forgotten by historians
 then brought alive again
 by eighth grade social science teachers.
My worn-out, yellow hoodie
  spells my name 
backwards in the mirror.
I dig my nails in your forearms
 to replicate the thinness
      of knives.

The water is flooding the sink, 
I have forgotten how to ask for help
in a way that is polite,
      and not cruel enough for you to leave
  staring at my misgivings
 wrapped perfectly for supper.
I beg the mirror to fix the backwardness
 of my name and the broken psyche
 before it explodes into another flood.
Of tap water. Of fruits.
Of the curved tips of knives.
Of the yellow cotton, I’m desperately aching 
to find comfort in.

Fruit Basket or Never Knowing When I Am Showing Symptoms 

Every night it's another murder. I tenderly 
place the paper cup full of grapes on the
table and call it dinner. A refusal to let myself
be happy is an unlisted crime and I commit
it every day. Body, you belong to the fruits now.

I place the tiny pill at the centre of my tongue,
daring it to reinvent biology. If you magnified it,
it would look like the peach my heart turns into
after dark. After dark, I am prone to bruising.
Please do not leave me in the kitchen alone.

Another wound re-lived as I stare right through
the living room curtains—the bandaids
would smell like strawberries and offer rewards
to the pain for being small enough to fit inside it. 
Kissing it better is always the safer option.

I talk with my lips shut and eyes overflowing like
a tilted mason jar full of pickle juice. Today we 
slice apples and call it onions, the difficulty to 
gauge the spaces between the rightness and 
wrongness is the same either way.

For the borderline, the plum recruits itself an 
entire family. More things for me to run away 
from before the ruining begins. I hold the seed 
up to the window—waiting for the sunlight to 
sink into it—I stand still until the sky turns purple.

Shringarika Pandey (she/her) is an India-based poet, with an upstanding admiration for houseplants, cats and sad indie music. Her words have appeared/are forthcoming in All Guts No Glory, Ayaskala and All Ears. Give her a shout on instagram @boot.theory