When the artist grew up, she promised herself she’d finally change
her name. If she was sad she would be sad in a way that was useful
for her art. She would keep her money in a small purse,
a notebook in her right pocket.
She would become a regular at aquariums.
The artist went to college to learn about machines.
She spent days writing equations in small side stapled books
she bought for a dollar apiece. She built models of ships
from scrap wood and left them on her beloveds’ stoops.
That summer, the artist told her mother she was in love
with a woman, and then the woman left her
for a residency in Paris where she’d study the mating rituals
of Atlantic eels and how they relate to love, and death,
and the body, and then her mother turned into a terrible silence.
The artist couldn’t remember why she wanted
to grow up. She was writing a book of confessions,
inspired by photographs of herself as a child. She was writing
a set of poems that she wanted to give to her mother
once they forgave each other. She was trying
to take buses to every single place where she was born:
her mother’s hospital, her elementary school,
the spot of asphalt where she skinned her knee
for the first time. She was trying to remember.
She was trying to find a good reason to last.
|Gaia Rajan is the author of the chapbooks Moth Funerals (Glass Poetry Press 2020) and Killing It (Black Lawrence Press 2022). Her work is published or forthcoming in Best New Poets 2022, the 2022 Best of the Net anthology, The Kenyon Review, THRUSH, Split Lip Magazine, diode, Palette Poetry, and elsewhere. Gaia is an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University, studying computer science and creative writing. She lives in Pittsburgh. You can find her at @gaiarajan on Twitter or Instagram.