Lantern Review | Issue 9.2

Shebati Sengupta

to the moth who lived on my desk—

you don’t have to ask—I’ll tell you anyway,
I was born during the first snowfall of the year,
much like the one you’re avoiding,
and it failed to bleach my skin the way
my grandmother had hoped—

(don’t worry, thakuma, you won’t be the last one
disappointed, just the first)

dear winged wall accent—today my mother
called you pet, asked me not to kill you—in the same
breath she brought out moth balls

she wants you and the sweaters to co-exist—
like English on my tongue, or ice-flecked pines, or you
in the cup of orange juice I left next to my pen—

dear not-butterfly, dear speckled pantry creeper—

today I pulled you, tongue-wet and crumpled,
from between my teeth—I do not know where I dropped
your body, because I screamed, and the knowledge
fled my mouth on dripping wings

my mother says I am so used to winter
I do not know how to hold a living thing

Photo of Shebati Sengupta Shebati Sengupta is a PhD student in American Studies at the University of New Mexico. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing and Brooklyn Poets. When she’s not falling down a rabbit hole of research, she adores food and books of all kinds. • Photo by Anya Nandkeolyar

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