"Classified" & "Caught in the Web" by Harsha Venkataraman
The rain has softened the ground today,
better for digging my homely grave,
and as I lie awake and wait for
the morning bleariness, I am just
an honest poison they say,
morally uncomfortable and a
necessary tragedy. A stranger
to my actions and in name.
I have tasted the silent crimes,
Run my tongue along their inky grooves.
I am their cog; the cuts across my tongue
bleed oil. Blood that never dies,
yet none ever do realize, I am the inky oil,
staining the hands and handkerchiefs
of men clouded by smokey gold.
They cannot wash off my stench from
their sticky hands tucked inside
pristine white gloves who water books
instead of burning them. The poisoned
pressed flower grows tangled vines in
our book. What foul betrayal gestates in
our soil? Done by those trapped in
their own festering vines.
Oh what is to be done? I know--
Today’s headline reads:
A revolutionary casket,
modelled by yours truly,
Caught in the Web:
My Amma says my skin is so vela, so fair.
The web has her tangled up as well.
The sticky shimmery threads: the lair
we are all their prey. A plague, in other words,
a beautiful veil. Few take a second glance
when they dress in such spider silks,
the shiny threads look lovely under their trance
they say in the mirror. But the rest,
we are trapped, our arms pinned back,
and the world turns a blind eye when
the system demands another snack.
The moderates' outrage is shallow.
Just another symptom, just another veil
the spinning web entangling our existence
Spins forth not for our benefit, but to our ail.
Those who align with such nets of lattice
do not understand their place as puppets
I pity them, for they are driven by cowardice,
and are lured further into the spider's web.
Do not scoff, we are all prey under its gaze
Burning hearts beating in courageous souls seek
liberation, and the web sees bright intentions to raze
and to start anew. Such frightful waves spread
to those secure enough from the beast
who enjoy the cool metal of the cage. Their rhetoric
is painfully twisted. They blame those with the least
A morsel of falsity for the masses to swallow
to protect such an existence. The veil is thick,
the veil is strong, privilege and pride cloud
their vision enough, so they cannot see the trick
of the web caught in the light.
Harsha Venkataraman (she/they) is a high school student from Austin, Texas. Her work can be found in The Lunch Ticket, Kealing's Inkblot Magazine and the LASA Composer.