Gaia Rajan | Poetry

Four months until eighteen and no one to be
an orphan with. In a town named for its heat  

I shivered on strangers’ couches, gave each
a different name. Couldn’t sleep until I saw them: 

my dead friends sprawled on the coffee table
eating lavender ice cream by the pint.  

I spent days charting the insides of my eyelids
like I was building a cartography, a star map  

swirling outwards, lit by the flares
of exploding satellites. I didn’t go outside 

in daylight, not even to clip my shirts
to dry in the sun. I was terrified  

of being found. I don’t remember anything
from those months except  

what other people captured
in pictures. I barely ate. When I dislocated  

my shoulder I punched it back into place.
I was trying to be all I needed but my need  

kept leaking out. For months it was sour rain
and sleet and I covered my teeth when I smiled.