Nora Gupta

Almost Mother 

And when my mom died, 
Blooms of flowers began 
Calling to her soulless body— 
Dancing with the spirit that possessed her. 
Earl gray tea, 
Freshly brewed, 
Glared with my mother’s unrecognizable face— 
Honeyed eyes, 
Icy lips, cracked with hues of deep red. She was
Just my not-mother-almost-mother mother. Her
King’s crown placed on her head as 
Licks of flame danced across her tongue, 
My not-mother-almost-mother mother will 
Never find her lost soul. Neither will I. But, though we are
Objurgated and rejected, the hunt must 
Pause for at least a night—our 
Quarrels rampant, they must come to a full 
Tick-tock, tick-tock— 
Umbrellas held for me. Tick 
Vermicelli shared. Tock 
Wandering Manhattan's dimly lit streets. Tick
X-ing out my old diary entries. Tock 
Yet again, a smile reaching across my face. Yet again, another 
Zealous mid-night chat.


In life, his will was as perennial 
As the maggots, oozing from the gray slush 

Of corpse-skin – flaking snowflakes, 
Pepper. Marbled beetles, housed 

By perennial fungus, spread
their sparkling Spores. Fungal tentacles dancing 

Through his belly, crawling up his esophagus
With a passion so spicy only Kratos himself could 

Recreate it. Baby mice—puffs of fur, gnawing
On this bodacious buffet—they bask 

In the perfume of hydrogen sulfide and argon.
and Aphrodite’s crocodile pearls stream down 

Her apricot cheeks once she sees his dismembered limbs
Consumed by curious centipedes— 

Yet his will is still perennial.


I open a casket 
And there I see 
A whole world waiting for me. 

I slam it shut, 
My fingers shaking— 
Does this mean Death is nearing? 

My world seems to blur, 
Tumbling into swirls, 
Nauseating circles. 

The casket changes shape.
It no longer beckons to Death.
Now, it beckons to Fate.

One-sided love story 

Any word one can say 
will tarnish your view of me.
It will take a thousand of my words 
and my dignity 
to make you at least consider me.

About the Author: Nora Gupta is a student poet at the Bronx High School of Science. She is Editor-in-Chief for Double Yolk, a publication featuring poets of color and their creative processes. Nora has received recognition from several organizations, such as the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the National YoungArts Foundation, Gigantic Sequins, and Smith College. You will find Nora's poetry in the upcoming issues of Notre Dame Review, Zone 3, and Sho Poetry Journal.