Maybe I should reconsider my position
on the camera. Maybe it is worth
that last smile inside the apartment,
the room that I gave up on (the one
with bullet holes but in which I could never
find the bullets), the vacuous spider

which digested all things other than dreams,
the air mattress, and my brother
who slept next to me and all that came with him.
And how is it that the absence in my stories
is the apartment now and not the automatics
of the men who I never saw? How is it that

I needed a proof for the premise:
my sadness could not convince my mom
to take me to the therapist. I looked out
the window and said the sound of gunfire
is like the sound of divorce and she dreamt
up the narrative I substitute for memory

of a girl I walked home from elementary
because I craved her attention, ten minutes
more than a tutor should, and that was enough
for me to leave home, knowing love
is not something I should have.

What I mean to say is, I want pictures
to be my memorial
because I am seeing now my funeral
will be sudden, like my flight
to the college dorm, where I am told
people mold into something new.

I put photos of my family on the wall. They leave only me
knowing where my gaze was fixed with each smile
which I flinch through. I hope I forget
the stories of bullets and only remember
my self-hatred as naive first attempts at freshness,
my afro the center of my attention, now and then.

A persona poetry
Kalidas Shanti ’22 is a staff writer

Hannah Zhang ’22 is a staff artist