How to date depression
By Arushi Singh

it isn’t that hard. you can do it.
realize that this sound rings loudest in the ears of those
who cannot speak
draw an invisible man
give him a heart, if the chalk finishes
leave the lines incomplete
those blank spaces — that is where the man will be born
that last unfinished line is his umbilical cord
snapped in half in a litany of silence 
leave him a scar or two, yours will remind him of his
leave him an unfinished poem and watch him give it wings
with his pain
realize we hurt just as much in every language
realize this is living, that a boy who has lived with sadness so long
it feels like bone marrow
will never know when and how you surgically remove it out of him
realize that life doesn’t come in waves, it hits you like a tornado
spins and swallows songs that fill the empty spaces around
realize that everyone feels pain just the same
that depression hits you when you least expect it
that sadness isn’t a state of mind
sometimes, it’s a state of existence
realize that this song hits my ear just as hard
as it hits
realize we are song
never truly abandoned
just sometimes

Do not confuse gunpowder for ashes a.k.a. Collateral damage
By Arushi Singh

I was raised in a family that believed the mouth
was a gun
fully loaded, in every moment 
with so many things to say, the alcohol still
pours from my father’s tongue
the smoke has left a permanent silhouette on the ceiling
with the wings of the fan churning new meanings
out of plain syllables pumped into the foundations of the roof

I was raised in a family that reduced meanings to blobs of anger
and shadows formed like constellations in the sky so perfect
And so marred
When my mother first got her stammer, I knew
something was wrong
I was five, so there wasn’t much i understood but
something about her fears anchored me to the bottom of her belly
pulling me down
something bout her voice became so dependent
I had to carry it
when my mother first ran away my father and I torched the closets
in search of her
my father would later say it was in the heat of the moment
the barrel formed an O like the no of her mouth
when he raised his hands
and emptied the palm prints onto her ears
like bullets into empty sockets
i was raised to believe that any damage the mouth would
I could easily tourniquet with expensive bouquets, and mild
conversations and friendly slaps on the back
and tears forming puddles in my eyes
and the nose bleeding from an inner weeping
I was raised to believe
that words could never hurt

I was raised in a family that believed the mouth
was a gun
and so to no one’s surprise
I became
collateral damage

The First Boy
By Arushi Singh

the first boy to drunk call you
left his words like alcohol stench on your ears  
the thing about him was that he could never really call you
when he was sober
no that would entail him frothing at the mouth with lies
         and unwanted secrets

he left his arms clanking like two pendula oscillating
against each other
they clung to your skin like cancer

the first boy to leave his mark on your body
left it in the form of cigarette stumps on your thighs
he thought it was funny
how the stumps formed full moons
and that boy would later
rewrite your entire history to make it look like
it was his

that boy later raped you
and his fingertips left scars on your lips
from pressing too hard to silence a girl
who wouldn’t remember how to scream for years
who wouldn’t remember what healing looked like

you would then build a carnival out of
your tears
        a tumour in your lungs from holding on
too tightly
from lumps and swallowing his secrets
that settled in your throat like a blob of vomit

you would then leave behind a cathedral of
“You left your blood stained shirt in my backyard,
he will say he doesn’t
you will know he lied

you will tell him that you finally learned to forget
your words will form a puddle at his feet
meaninglessly, he would stomp over them
leaving you panicking again
you won’t let him this time
you will narrow in
on yourself
make your bones a coffin for your
and close.

and to you I will say

when that boy comes
point to your lover
your friend
your father
your brother — and show him
What a man looks like

Arushi Singh is a passionate writer and literature enthusiast, who has been experimenting with freestyle poetry for a few years. She is from Delhi, India, and is currently studying literature Mount Carmel College, Bangalore. She has had her poetry published in magazines like Page and Spine, Literary Yard, One Sentence Poems, Fourth and Sycamore and others, and her first poetry collection, Deviant: the obscenity of truth, is now available on Amazon.