Listen: I tried scratching my skin,

scarring a ripple  ,  flicking a riot.

Everything else is fine.

My eyes          keep their shadows.

My mother still    cleans her bones.

She shovels water to lattice her limbs.

The water  kneads its skin like  a cloud,

shedding its weight.   Mother pulls her

skin back.   Keeps it light as a drop, but

it is a good thing.

                                 Asking  memory

to wait till this is done.    Boys stop by a tree

to gulp it.               The cold rustle of leaves,

jabbing their toe, stops them.               They

don’t eat it.   The tree soon arches its back

in drought.

                           Skins the tides.     Soon its

skin plunges.   The boys’ black shoes plunge.

They plunge.

                 They have wriggled deep into leaving.

Devanshi Khetarpal is a high school junior from Bhopal, India. She is the author of Welcome to Hilltop High (Indra, 2012) and a poetry collection titled Co:ma,to’se (Partridge, 2014). She is a Poetry Editor for the Phosphene Literary Journal, a Journalist cum Representative for Redefy and the Founder cum Editor-in-chief of Inklette. Her work is forthcoming in Polyphony HS, Crack the Spine, Parallel Ink, Glass Kite Anthology, Eunoia ReviewThe Cadaverine and Alexandria Quarterly. Devanshi has attended writing workshops and literature seminars at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and is a recent graduate of the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio at the University of Iowa. Her website can be found here