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Killing My Grandmother’s Grandaughter and other poems by Kanika Lawton

I think my body will always be
an euphemism for apology,
always too tall or too short
or too wide or too thin.

My hips offering sin like
sweet cakes, condensed milk
liquor and pitiful innocence
heavy petting.

Shame beautiful around my
waist like the silver belt she
will never hand down
to me—

stubborn girl unwilling to push
ankle to ankle
and prayer hands to forehead.


Shower Ritual

I tried to take
a turned knife to my
tongue and scrap away
how you tasted.

I racked up this month’s
water bill scalding back
your handprints from my
hip bones.

When the water
turned cold I tore at
my waist
and neck
and chest
and face
as if my body could
ever forget.

You called it primal.
I called it lying.

Watch how animal I can be
fetus’d on the bathroom
floor.


Self-Desecration

I am readying my body
for autopsy and
dispossession.

Scrubbing every
fingerprint still glued
to my mouth and neck

the tip of my nose and
where my hip violently
jutts out
still cracking

splitting.

My fingers used
to touch your sullen
cheeks.

I’ve cut them all at the
junction.


Realization as Breakage

I opened the door to my
body and he didn’t even
take his shoes off.

I’m still trying to wipe
the dirt off from my sinew’d
bones.

I let him stain the inside
of my cheeks and the flesh
of my stomach with his acid
tongue.

I should have never
unhinged myself
like broken-jaw
key,

crack myself open with
fingers unsheathing
shoulder blades.

Who am I supposed to
apologize to?


Gasoline

Sometimes I wonder when
I will finally self-immolate,
socked feet before downcast
Buddha.

I birth fire every time I go to
pagoda, squeezed tight into
lace bodice with garland trim—
“Hmmm….getting a bit meaty
now, aren’t we?”

I want to be good.
Gold skirts kneeling
before gold robes and
gold Buddha in gold
menagerie.

But I, too, am idolatry,
letting brown hands touch
pale waist and hips.

The white half of me
has always steered me
wrong.


Incense as Body Glitter

I want to take joss sticks
to my eyes and bang my head
against the hardwood table.

The only thing I like better than
being choked with his legs tangled
in mine is feeling smoke
curling down my throat.

I want to die without commitment,
without the ugliness of bloated stomach
and loss of continence and teeth turned
yellow and black and rotten.

I like sacrilege.
I like outrage.
I want to rub incense
all over myself like body
glitter and highlight my
cheekbones sharp as knife
blade.

I don’t know what it’s like
to not burn.


About the author:

Kanika Lawton is a twenty-one year old student and poet from Vancouver, Canada. She will graduate with a Major in Psychology and Minor in Film Studies from the University of British Columbia in May 2017. She was a Gold and Silver Key recipient at the 2013 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the national winner of the Draw It! poster category in the 2013 Canada Day Challenge, and has been published in The Rising Phoenix Review, Rambutan Literary, and Red Queen Literary Magazine. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of L’Éphémère Review and serves as a visual arts editor for Venus Magazine.

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3 Comments on Killing My Grandmother’s Grandaughter and other poems by Kanika Lawton

  1. So beautiful! That title was catchy, nice! 🙂

    Like

  2. So good

    Like

  3. honesty and originality…the best combination!

    Like

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