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Self-Portrait as Abraham's Ishmael by Sreshtha Sen

But who hasn’t killed

a version of themselves to appease the one they worship.

When I feel most beautiful, I wait for his flinch. We lived,

for a long time, in silence.

In his dreams, his child

a daughter again & nothing to sacrifice. His hurt turned into a blade raised. He:

the only man I have let hold me to something. My surrender: swift.

My gender its own altar. & then after all of that? just a goat granted

in all its stead. Like any good man he cooks

me mutton as apology & we feast though still starved of noise.

The thing is none of it matters. Even if God themselves willed it,

no one returns from this knowledge their own Father wished them dead.


SRESHTHA SEN is a poet from Delhi and one of the founding editors of The Shoreline Review, an online journal for & by south Asian poets. They studied Literatures in English from Delhi University and completed their MFA at Sarah Lawrence College, New York. Their work can be found published or forthcoming in Apogee, bitch media, BOAAT, Hyperallergic, Hyphen Magazine, The Margins, Rumpus and elsewhere. She was the 2017-18 readings/workshops fellow at Poets & Writers and currently teaches in Las Vegas where she’s finishing her PhD in poetry and is the assistant poetry editor at The Believer.

@sreshthasen on Twitter


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