You are a falconer without a glove;
    a raptor barebacks your ulna.
Every scar along your wrist
    is a lifeline lifting to flight. A father's

hand span around your throat
    chrysalises into butterfly wings.
The truth is you’d rather be
    ash. You expunge sin, prophesy:

one day a man will kiss you
    from palm to elbow. Now,
hide your darkness in lines—
    who reads poetry anyway?

When you cut mouths along your forearm
    your whole body gasps.

Rajiv Mohabir

Rajiv Mohabir’s first book The Taxidermist’s Cut (Four Way Books 2016) won the Intro in Poetry Prize judged by Brenda Shaughnessy. His second manuscript The Cowherd’s Son won the 2015 Kunidman Prize. Mohabir has received fellowships from Voices of Our Nation’s Artist foundation, Kundiman, and the American Institute of Indian Studies language program. He received his MFA in Poetry and Translation from Queens College, CUNY, where he was Editor in Chief of the Ozone Park Literary Journal. Currently he is pursuing a PhD in English from the University of Hawai'i, where he teaches poetry and composition.

Note: The poet says, "I always think of formal poems as repositories in which I can hide dangerous secrets. This re-formed sonnet, for instance, speaks to the act of self-harm and how it taught my brown, queer body to survive colonization and violence. I wanted a release, an opened door, a river. In writing this poem I was confronted with choices: how much to reveal and how to reveal it. I was determined to write about deep shame. The translating of violence from a father, through religion and the poetic line stirs release as an opening for escape. In childhood I escaped into poetry. This poem is a note to my younger self in which I imagine the relief of a queer life and give my body permission to survive its secrets."