Poetry by Serena Devi


you are being punished again

for vanity and/or frivolity, or, maybe, for throwing a phone at the wall

try leaving again. trawl the mind, exhaustively, for a vacation.

the world: a big room with no doors. look:

there’s tennessee and its steeples and hills
and tennessee and just being there in the middle,
not processing

yet you make an effort,
sit in the sun, feel cold
breaking open downward by some river delta,
heaving and sinking,
burying motion — the downstream whatever.

it’s not new enough, I know.

but europeans are dogs and relentless pickpockets.

      cooked sneakers, bad attitudes,
      swagless, too-tethered and sure
      I’ve seen it up close — it’s spite.

their candy tastes like baby motrin, sulfur, patchouli, edging gratification, always, their strange ideas of withholding) the american body count at least keeps one humble. others…

      (do you know my heart’s not in it?)

so you paint your nails earth purple — a
      color that looks good jammed in a mouth,
      disappearing down a throat
      something like that.

it’s magic: making by doing.

(a bit unhinged, behind on rent, a vibe you sense)

doing the difficult thing until it feels less — you know.
      and somehow, it doesn’t. exceptional!
      should you tell your mother?

another hard: to have a conversation
      and not just with you, but mostly with you.

I won’t talk over you. I’ll nod and un-click my teeth but
all that wants to come out is,
why is this so easy for you, and
how can you be so sure?

Serena Devi

IG: @14.16.22

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