Size / / /

You call us shifters, but yoga 
never pulled me straight
mantras couldn't (sri rama rama rameti) shape me to match
the movies comics paintings and those potions to turn me 
fair & lovely
just made me ill. 

You say I shifted, but you broke me
to fit. Now I write speak
dream in (your English is so good)
Such a gift no? Don't believe it
You think I (simply only) forgot? I'm dislocated
Agastya named me monstrous
You call me special
Ram cut my hands off
You ripped out my (paki paki toks like thees) tongue.

Now I sound invisible
to Ram (you)
I disagree slantwise
and smile smile, but I never learned
to stop fighting. Tamil falls broken (konjam konjam pesaren) 
from my tongue's torn roots
and I write speak dream in blood.

Also in this week's issue, you can read an interview with Shweta about this poem and its influences.

Shweta Narayan was born in India and has lived in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Scotland, and California. They feel kinship with shapeshifters and other liminal beings. Their short fiction and poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Mithila Review, Breaking the Bow: Speculative Fiction Inspired by the Ramayana, We See a Different Frontier: A Postcolonial Speculative Fiction Anthology, An Alphabet of Embers: An Anthology of Unclassifiables, Lightspeed: Queers Destroy Fantasy, and Clockwork Phoenix 3, among others. Shweta was the Octavia Butler Memorial Scholarship recipient at Clarion 2007 and was shortlisted for the 2010 Nebula Awards.
Current Issue
21 Nov 2022

As far back as I could remember, Oma warned me about the bats. She said they would eat me if they found me exposed at night. But I knew the green light of the moon would protect me, even when I was still smaller than Oma.
The truth is: / she does not have to bend into a ceramic plate to carry us beautifully, & my father / isn't the hand that will break her.
the rattle of the rails, the shuffling-muttering of hundreds of passengers nestled in the one long limb of you
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