Country Poems

    by Kiran Bhat


    I had a black skin once,
    but I took myself to the edges of the cliffs
    and peeled myself,
    until I was nothing but blood and bones

    and even that I refuse to look at
    and call as part of my own.


    So many cultures
    so many races
    so many nations
    so many skins

    and you wouldn’t yet pause to think
    that all of this wealth
    all of this wonder
    all of this greatness
    the greatest things humans could ever look forward to
    or imagine
    or partake themselves in

    came from the death, embezzlement, and destruction
    of so many other people
    who are now a part of your story
    and yet blend in fully, all too fully
    as if their heartache and loss were nothing but unturned stones.


    My lips pucker,
    but nothing comes out.

    hope for the best,
    I expect the worst,

    because there is so much inside of me,
    too much inside of me,
    from the start of where life began,
    to the days where the ends of times will see itself produced.

    And I see both and none of it at once.
    I feel like I belong to all of the world
    despite being completely shunned.

    and so I hope,
    I wait,
    I aspire,

    but accept the fact that I am ignored and forgotten,
    a speck on the spotlight,
    that will someday blossom and grow.

    Kiran Bhat is a global citizen formed in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, to parents from Southern Karnataka, in India. He has currently traveled to over 130 countries, lived in 18 different places, and speaks 12 languages. He is primarily known as the author of we of the forsaken world… (Iguana Books, 2020), but he has authored books in four foreign languages, and has had his writing published in The Kenyon Review, The Brooklyn Rail, The Colorado Review, Eclectica, 3AM Magazine, The Radical Art Review, The Chakkar, Mascara Literary Review, and several other places. His list of homes is vast, but his heart and spirit always remains in Mumbai, somehow. He is currently bumming around Mexico. You can find him on @Weltgeist Kiran.*

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