Sneha Subramanian Kanta

Aubade with Healing Bruises After Abuse

The body is colossal in all it retains.
A mind of sandpaper for sunsets,
its ragged edges. I once fought for

the body as someone pushed my neck
into the idea of further. My body
coiled like a serpent on the bed

covered in bruises than leathery sheen.
The heaviness dissolved into my body
alone. I carried its weight everywhere,

like the sky carries clusters of stars,
even the dead ones. I ran into wilderness
for escape. The warning signs were all

there. I tied the sun in my navel,
planted a lonesome moon in my head.
I remember the blood on my upper lip,

the night of escape. I had to live inside
my bones. I vacuumed my insides with
erasures. We inherit our fear from violence.

We renounce danger as we embrace the body.
I have no heart for mourning. Only the loss.
I begin again, in my body—in my voice.


Beauty Must Be A Thing So Terrified Of Itself

it sleeps for long hours & then                 the rain           falls
in the sound of copper coins   slant       & several nightlamps
fill empty corners         of a small town      Some have given
violence the name of beauty         & called cages        shelter
& then cedar waxwings      sit on rain-soaked branches & cry
as a boat       spirals in the ocean    wobbly with undercurrents
Some erect flags &      tadpoles dance upon its stained fences
& then say         look at what is accumulated     I saw an old
tree hang with the weight of red apples        & thought beauty
chatters in an unheard voice        in its throat     of amethyst
Imagine yourself appear pixelated    as you look into a mirror
Some have called beauty             gigantic     & insulted bodies
that sag with overburden       & then blanch       its meaning
to their        own accord        I say an elegy is when we cannot
do better than               cages cages cages             Some have said
beauty is what happens        after death           & then a child
sees a hollow dark tunnel             patches of craquelure paint
& then a thousand nights          bloat        I always thought
if children were        given            a color         it would be
green         that they would toss        their heads like a field
of green grasses        with their faces to the sun          like joy
distilled from       a beaker            into the ocean  like breaths


Three Ways to Open Life

& if mortality is wet-sand clawing
to your rubber-sandals
                        the body heating in thaw
would you rummage through peculiar chores:
fold laundry, make the bed, scratch the calendar,
                        & sharpen pencils
self-portrait as didn’t-stop-to-smell-the-flowers?

& if you were the places you imagine yourself
on cold nights; roads with solitary streetlamps
& darkening wind-combed grasses
                        bitter frost scratching surfaces
                            of weary walls
as if earthquakes & weathering weren’t enough
would you trust your name
                          in the mouth of another?

& if you were an urn
                        flowers on the exterior
                        & ash held within
would you utter hallelujahs in silence?



Sneha Subramanian Kanta is a recipient of the prestigious GREAT scholarship and has earned a second postgraduate degree in England. Her chapbook titled Home is Hyperbole won the Boston Uncommon Chapbook Series (Boston Accent Lit). She is the author of Synecdoche (The Poetry Annals) and Prosopopoeia (Ghost City Press). She is the founding editor of Parentheses Journal. An old soul, she runs a patisserie.