Ria Dhingra

you ask me how it feels and I tell you

It’s crying after Canon in D. Knowing you could once play it and now you cannot. Knowing you could move with grace and discipline to create crescendo. Knowing you could capture the world the way artists do—it made everyone so proud. Knowing you were once considered interesting, intelligent, and beautiful. Knowing you had the potential to be somebody. Knowing that this all was once not just expected—it came easy. Knowing that the stars were all it took to bring you joy. Knowing you now have to wake up and brush your teeth in the morning. Knowing the simple task makes you want to cry. Knowing that this poem makes no sense. It’s a shout in the void—it’s slamming the keys in frustration. 

I quit the piano four years ago. 

And I feel everything.

anyways, where were we?

returning to the main idea after a series of tangents//fire hydrants//childhood traumas//our favorite films//your love of strawberry pop tarts//yes, I remember now//feeding off the excitement of the conversation//pouring hope into our bodies like its a cordial drink//allowing said hope to wash over us in waves//savoring the tension//a held breath//a rest between the bridge and the chorus//the slight whistle of the kettle going off, announcing hot coffee, a kind day//a pause as the lottery numbers are being read//and my heart is auditioning for the Cirque du Soleil, performing feats and flips//for there are actual tangents worth talking about//the leaf shaped birthmark behind your ear//my distrust of wireless headphones//our shared desire to be seen, but fear of being understood//the little details, they matter//I find myself leaning closer to hear them//hear the details//hear the words//hear you.

About the Author: Ria Dhingra is a Sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is studying both English Literature and Philosophy. Her work has been recognized by her University as she was the recipient of the Mackaman Undergraduate Writer’s Award in 2021. Her work appears in Bridge Literary Journal and Isele Magazine. Ria is a lover of stories, car rides, post-it notes, and trying to find beauty in the ordinary.