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Natasha Sharma poet


by Natasha Sharma

a cuckoo sounds, papa
slats between the light
in our tropical room bronze high
’90s fashion pressed
vermillion ink on my fingers a
tingle we’ve entered your childhood
roam rivers seeking seas
on boundaries permanently erased

our high hopes searching
your home half abandoned this century
ago who is left bodies only
innocent we try too hard

it’s lost now concrete
has made the silent vow
strips of green red streamers aloft
the trees outside construction
lingers a thrush pushes out
your now broken lost house
feel your body doing what’s left

middletown swimming

these days, we’ve chosen to be swept under some
imaginary depths of chlorine,
to have the concrete bowl be our bones
my sister and I lay in the empty pool, recall:
her violin my flute store, its strip mall
bankrupt, all the heroes with their golden teeth
and us not guessing, to play later,
notes out as dust motes in this bottom bowl

a wealthy family’s chemicals laden the air,
a leftover blonde’s lock, their painted nail
I’m choking without thinking
I imagine the splashes above me,
the bubbles rising from sinking bodies,
all ghosts of summers shadow over us

police come to hear our skin screeching
against this desperate bowl’s purpleized
mosaic, then, midwestern evening autosphere
lures bronze skies warning vehemently, to run zoom
out past vintage bicycles, broken jockey statues
and grandma’s windcatcher collection bids us chiming goodbyes


between my legs he tickles me with the calligraphy of a brush
meant for other women in his novel of us that’s not really us
aspiring to something meant for real Indian women, I paint
curry onto my nails wielding them above bubbling pots,
below, a paisley rest on my ankle bruises elephant skin
above it my legs are something for wolf-men to suckle at
it’s waxy between my breasts it’s sticky in his mouth
it’s my grandmother’s recipe

Indiana Desi

Mama has left us for her head, inside it
her purple molten plants bleed untended,
unintended we fled with the broken U-Haul

history will not hope for us
we’re the wrong color brown, saris
torn and bright, discriminate patterns

the cattle have taken our side

our bodies allowed only in the large spaces,
herdable, I hear my stomach bellow
it seems a visitor to this broken space

my people stare out blankly
cowboy laundry hanging beside black pens
cotton hued against my shaking

I forget our color out here, picket fence
imprisoned in our own country
how many chains till we feed together again?

split/marriage: a buoyant miscegenation

black hair-dye splat, bleached skin cream dot
eye me from a rose-colored carpet
a child’s bathroom floor

creeping in my oatmeal bath
brown-itchy bottom buoyant
mommy, when will I be done?
till your skin shrinks/till I can see your bones bleach

I pretend mermaid
cooking in the oven
iridescent fish turning

my fingers pinched prunes
her purple knuckles pound
dough sticky roti slabs
sizzle gold spitting oil

now Papa’s eye will turn doorways
her knuckles will snap like chickpeas
while I’m left-behind fishy flakes
a maid rotting in forgotten waters


Natasha Sharma is a tutor for early and elementary age students in Ohio. Her poems represent growing up in the American Midwest as a first-generation South Asian and touch on mental health issues, trauma, and dreaminess. She holds a Master’s degree in English from Miami University of Ohio and her work can be found in “The Hartskill Review”, “As/Us”, “Better than Starbucks,” and “Fleas on the Dog.”