Shinjini Bhattacharjee’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Gone Lawn, Rose Red Review, wherewithal, Red Paint Hills Poetry, Literary Orphans, and elsewhere. She is also the founding editor of Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal. For more information, visit shinjinibhattacharjee.com.
In my mother’s retelling of the parable of hubris, a matryoshka doll decided to steal the human skin and escaped. This was fourteen billion years ago, when the universe was not yet heavy with swans spooning sand from desert to beach in an effort to specify loneliness. The doll’s mouth was warm and vacant and sober with the policies of absence. At first, there was no ribcage to strain her vision, so she could easily hold anything that was much larger than expected—dry leaves, tilted flies. She could also be wary of the smallness of friction that moaned through coconuts and could never imbalance. Every evening, she let moths sit on her chest for a good forty seconds. This was a ritual, meant to help her hide good light in a bag. Light was always dangerous, dividing her whereabouts into two lodged methods of reality that were too intimate to be true. One day, she found a fortune cookie behind an upturned flower that promised her a human sentence. But what she learnt was only sucking, spitting and other silly extravagances. After she spent the entire day forgetting it, she couldn’t complement her right index finger anymore. She could see nothing of her empty dollhouse, including herself. As she began to disappear, her ears became excited at the prospect of finding new hummingbirds.