My face is laced with pen, green
Marked lines sweet-talking my nose and eyelids.
Pudgy not paper crisp, they itch for precision.
I pass by goddesses placed on
Subway booths, their lunar skin absent of craters captured in one operatic shot
Indulged by comments. Pudgy not paper crisp, my flesh won’t
Find its place on a pedestal, moony-eyed glances and
Relatives singing odes to me. I will later catch fool’s gold, marveling
At my heavenly blithe flesh but all the glimmer will
Darken when I see flesh pooling out of my waistline and
Rotting into shades that don’t resemble pearls. I crave to be an
Envy. A muse. A comment from a passerby’s mouth — astonished.
And I will be twist and turn, lifted by strings
Far above me.

About the Author

Malvika Manoj is a first-year Business major at the University of Texas at Austin, pursuing a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. She likes writing poems that explore the nuances of human behavior and making guacamole with her dad. Her work was published in the Rare Byrd Literary Review, National Poetry Quarterly, Lilun Magazine and a self-published anthology called Sonder. She was recognized as a 2018/2019 National Winner for American High School Poets by the Live Poets Society of New Jersey and was a finalist in the New York Times Found Poetry Contest.