top of page


Annika Gangopadhyay


this is a silence birds cannot claw,

and i cannot swallow

without watching for


around my throat. pupils swell

open like bullets, cleave

the night into bruises

over and over as i relapse

into consciousness on the

bed: this is a silence unfurled

by ash in the wind. i let it float

across my eye as a child catches

dandelion dust

in a minefield.

palms split open as

the tanks fold mothers

into craters; look at the

smoke coiling out of forests

and tell me there is nothing

left to hold

before the bomb:

i tell the crater

to inhale the bullets

in paralysis,


punctured with sleep,

eyes open on the ground.


so i was scrolling through my feed in the hotel room// and i saw you lying in the sand at some cape verde beach with your hair harpooning the waves// i didn't know beaches could be so red, as if the sun wasn’t setting but careening down continents// we talk about visiting lonely intersections but for some reason forget about shorelines// miami: our fingernails clipped down to pink, just moments before the heat simmers into foam// i feel like i'm always foaming into nothing// casting the apologies while you net your hands alone, as if we still care for fading geography// consider a broken conch shell in bali// why am i always waiting for you to step on it// why do we always drown before the masts can prick us clean// i want to hold sea glass but i keep wading in its aftermath// that is to say i keep watching the tides fold you and the sand and the lines between us// maybe we’ll see each other in spain// isn’t it strange how, whenever i asked if you’d come back home, our lips pressed into patterns of absence and we’d just sit on some bench and inhale salt// see how we yearn in rhythms, how no sand or sunset can ever hold us before we go// if i hold the sun to my ear it sounds like the ocean// not a heartbeat, but a memory colliding with the faultlines// receding into tide pools no matter where we begin// i cannot remember the last time i held you// cyclically, i return to whales sleeping in hawaii// lone body outstretched on white bedsheets// migrations lurching backward until we're too tired to care.

Annika Gangopadhyay is an emerging writer from the Bay Area. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Nightingale & Sparrow, Hearth & Coffin Literary Journal, and Ligeia Magazine, among many others. In her spare time, she enjoys music and art criticism.

bottom of page