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Vandana Khanna

BPR 46 | 2019

Don’t think I didn’t hear you
throw my name around to your boys.

How you tried to drown it in the river
when I wasn’t looking, wring it free
of guile, of whimsy.

My mother warned me not to walk into
that jungle with you but I liked the way
you held the world together with your teeth.

Some things a girl can’t get over—how you
left me without a place to sit with the wet
slop of winter under my skin, the universe
gone and changed with the soft heat
of your dreams.

By day, you were all sweet in the mouth,
saying you could turn anyone holy.
By night, the bride’s red faded from
my hair like an old bleed.

That ugly river’s black tongue—
its chore, all along, was to divide us.