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Origin Myth

I promise: I was a good daughter. I was good.

I was— I prayed to my ghost. I let her turn soft

and bright and straining at her mouths. The moon hit me

on the head each night, a tradition we called

dreaming. I scuffed my feet and felt dutifully

wrong when I snuck out to the fields, ran

my tongue against inescapably clean teeth.

I learned cartography. Circled the map

where my parents were born, circled the town

for someplace to hide. Played shadow

through dead-end roads, my body translucent

against car headlights. My mouth

made small scared sounds. This was called

language. The self-help books say stay positive

and make progress. Hold dreams in gritted teeth.

But I no longer want to be good. I want to be

monstrous. Monsters are never scared

to claim their hands, their fleshy mouths—

like a little girl who steals her mother’s knife

sticks out her tongue and slices clean through.


Gaia Rajan lives in Andover, MA. She’s the cofounder of the WOC Speak Reading Series, the Junior Journal Editor for Half Mystic, the Web Manager for Honey Literary, the Managing Editor of The Courant, and the Poetry Editor of Saffron Literary. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in the Kenyon Review, Muzzle Magazine, DIALOGIST, Split Lip Magazine, diode, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, ‘Moth Funerals,’ is out now from Glass Poetry Press, and she is a National Student Poet semifinalist. She is sixteen years old, and tweets @gaia_writes.