Think of the way you left me: with your fake
summer of half-thawed hives, uncertain blooms
budding and foolish. I have my own worries—
pressed into pleats, braided and obedient like
a schoolgirl. The trees full of gossips. I’ve been
second-guessed, second best, face chipped
by envy. Put on the shelf to gather regret
in my prettied mouth. Thus, in my third
incarnation, I have won Most Overlooked Goddess.
It’s beyond me to charm. The new one will get
her way, so specific with spite, bullying the breath
out of me: loose-limbed, all the milk in me gone.
I’ve rinsed my dreams of you in a river a hundred
years wide and still they are dry to the touch.
Vandana Khanna is the author of two full length collections, Train to Agra and Afternoon Masala, as well as the chapbook, The Goddess Monologues. Her poems have won the Crab Orchard Review First Book Prize, The Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize, and the Diode Editions Chapbook Competition. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, New England Review, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner and Guernica. She is a poetry editor at The Los Angeles Review.