The Poetry Project

How we begin

Shuvangi Khadka

Early morning knocks faintly on the
light switch and I open to the

day that hasn’t formed its voice yet.
Lifting eyelid curtains, I look
out the window.

The night lamp post is still on.
I realign the remaining
stars, try to bring a new
alphabet into existence.

But the dawn unveils too soon.

I look at my empty palm, afraid
of never being able to turn an
empty notebook.

So I hold on to the book that has
phrased the lessons I understand.
There are so many things I don’t

Like how in another bed, my mother
must be parting her lips for a yawn,
summoning all her Gods,

like how she teaches me to offer myself
almost like her offered flowers and still
expects me to bloom.

But I didn’t come to this world
gurgling, yet calm.
I passed through my mother like she was an
endless tunnel and at the end, couldn’t even
acknowledge the blinding light above.

Since then, I have always hated the first days.

Sometimes, when I am alone in a room
with a man, I grow into
A fifth wall.

He asks, if he can untether
skin from spine, says he knows exactly
How to begin.
I think about beginning points
like these.

Was it when one similar evening, I separated
My teeth to make room for another tongue?
Was it when I unraveled ribbon off my
first birthday gift?
Was it when I uncovered my first

I wrap my fingers around the window latch,
of past moments.
They are shifting outside, shapeless.
I sit at the threshold, before the windowpane.
I read pages and pages of
my nonsensical scribbles and wonder

How did I arrive here?

Work from Architecture of the Interior: how to save the house with Angel Dominguez