Triumph XXI: Atman
by Shweta Narayan
I don't know how to wear a human skin as if it fits. The shape is wrong. I shed in patches, parchment dry and paper thin and scribed with scratched-in tales the swollen red of civil war. My shoulders are one knot where hollow bones and feathers try to grow as if, when I can barely lift my head I'll somehow leap and leave the ground below if only I'd sprout wings. Ha, no. My cane hits broken glass. No serpent's tail will aid my balance — you can't shapeshift out of pain — but screw your pity. Tragic's overplayed. I'll dance my own way, awkward, out of breath and fly in dreams, and laugh at lady death.
Shweta Narayan says, "I'm a shifter, as anyone who hears me speak must know; partly because I've lived in India, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, and California (so far). My gender, like so many aspects of my self, is set to 'it's complicated'.
"My poetry lurks in places like Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, and Jabberwocky, and my stories in the Nebula Awards Showcase Anthology 2012, Bloodchildren: Stories by the Octavia E. Butler Scholars, and We See A Different Frontier. I can sometimes be found online here."
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