Iteration (Sestina)

Three weeks to winter and I palm
the curtains obsessively. I dream in varied
color. I etch skin into my hands
to remember what is outside.
Three weeks and I fold
cotton tissues into rabbits,

watch the rabbits
scamper away, tendrils of frost beneath my palm
blooming blue as I fold
into a thin sheet of silence. I vary
my nights between dialtones and rubble. Outside,
I weave thistle around my hands,

look for permanence in the hurt I am handed,
but I never find it. The rabbits
disappear in waves, the ground outside
concrete against my palm.
I am trying to change, to vary,
and so I unfold.

Three weeks and the nights fold
like the curtains against my hand.
My lapses in presence vary
and I swear I can see the rabbits
running toward the food in my palm.
This week I don’t go outside

because I don’t know what is outside.
I keep my body folded,
the lines receding on my palm,
obscuring the skin on my hand
in minute velocities. I have no choice— I vary
like moon cycles and dream about the rabbits

when I’m allowed to close my eyes. The rabbits
remember the outside.
The rabbits have never varied
between blindness and amnesia, folded
at the mention of their hands,
had to press together their palms

and say the same thing over and over.

About the Author

Anika Prakash is a senior in high school and the editor-in-chief of Red Queen Literary Magazine. Her poetry has been recognized by The Adroit Journal, Scholastic Art & Writing, and the Writers’ Theatre of New Jersey, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a Platypus Press anthology, Red Paint Hill, Noble Gas Qtrly, Hobart, The Ellis Review, and Glass, among others.