The edges of my mind are lifting up —
there’s dust and dirt settled in so no matter how hard
I press and smooth my fingers over the peeling perimeter, nothing I do will
stick it back down again.

Sitting on my bed, curved protectively over my intestines,
I feel the overwhelming urge to grab an end and rip them right out,
watch what tears off and sticks.
I want a great gust of wind to rush through
like when you flap your blankets
and for a moment time freezes,
and a sage green canopy is
in the air,
And you wonder what lies beneath
because how can something swell so, without infinitudes
bearing up under it?

I’m scared to discover what lies beneath.

My God is the Unpeel Queen,
She heaves
something that has settled behind the skin of her neck
something beyond my comprehension
slipped overtop of her belly
— she is not hollow, just unknown, I know this —

I watch her turn it on, people-please people-please, almost as natural to her as when she unravels in front of me — her hair is static electricity — Medusa taking off her sunglasses — she is armless, limbless, she has no ears her ears have just detached — she is a knife, sparkling — and she carves meticulously into the centre of my stomach, and then stabs up. Manoeuvring with a surgeon’s precision so I don’t bleed to death, but stand there skewered,
Looking into wild eyes that look just like my own

Moments like this, I see where I get it from.

And when it’s all over she
Rolls back up
to look like a body again
— A little sloppy,
Something personless glitters from within her,
We both ignore it —
she brushes my hair back
And blows air on my forehead that has somehow gotten bruised.
And just like that the stain of blood
is but a sweet poppy, swaying stupidly,
sellotaped to the middle of my mind.

Ten thousand miles later,
And two years away,
Cool breath whistles under the sides
of sticky tape now unsticky,
I can feel my brain fluttering,
any moment now it’ll take off
arcing into the sky,
and I’ll only be able to run helplessly after it,
falling short at every leaden step,
Inadequate. And afraid of what I am left behind with.

Writer | Venumi Gamage ’26 |
Editor | Sally Jang ’27 |
Artist | Rachel De La Cruz ’26 |