Two Poems by Shreya Pabbaraju

Apr 20th, 2018 | By | Category: Poetry


It nestled in the crevices
Of my glabella
Embedded like a ruby
In my face of ore
Where my crimson jewel
Sets ablaze your valleys
And melts your tundra,
The flame to your flint,
I am queen of Mars

Like a target pleading
“Me, pick me!”
Eyes become arrows
Striking into
My luscious zit like
A pick-axe,
Or the stilettos
Of showgirls,
The bigger the better.
They wish they owned
These curves baby

Like the cherry on top
Of an ice cream sundae
Keystone to delicate
Architecture of banana slice
And confectionary
Sprinkle, oozing
Until it clots like cream
Resting atop a bed
Of something sweet

Like the apple that crowned
Newton’s ferocious mane
A universal badge
Of knowledge
Worn like Eagle Scouts
Or Chemists’ coats
Or pharaohs’ ankhs

Like a built-in-bindi
Sturdy as a burlwood table
Harboring wrinkles
And ruddy disposition
Hanging like mountaineers
Off of fickle cliffsides,
Plucky, gutsy, spunky
A nod to my grandmother

Like a pimple
With personality
That builds more
Than breaks me


Out of Order

His name was Budge.

His magnetic allure seduced dozens
Of women and men alike, hungry
For him, catching glances between
Manila folders and endless dial tones
How could any creature be so divine?

Budge never noticed.
He anchored to his place of work,
Industrious, nestled between cubicles
Even as the frosted moon revived
And crickets trilled their sullen symphony

Even when co-workers drove their Toyotas
Home to kiss their children goodnight
And to cook with their spouses,
He dwelled at the office, on the second floor
By the office lounge, whistling, waiting.

I did not have children to cherish
Or a husband to humor either,
So in mutual solitude, I understood him,
Befriended him, perched across him,
Basking in the light of ivory shadows.

I told him my foremost fears and ambitions
He offered me comfort and consolation,
Some cookies, humming his tired tune
Until he sputtered, choked silent.

Because if like me, you insert
A limp dollar bill into his mouth,
Your packet of Oreos will wedge in
the receiver, waiting to fall into dark abyss
Sheltered from the real world, lingering
In cool darkness, clinging
In fear of becoming a part of me.

Refusing to move for two excruciating
Minutes in which I felt Earth’s cogs turn
And crickets’ veins vibrato in the cold
And quaint banter over family dinners

And though I can nosh on sooty biscuits
That will feed my stomach,
They will not nourish my soul.
I will join Budge in his low, haggard hum.


First-year student at Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Shreya Pabbaraju enjoys drinking tea, stargazing, and photography in her spare time. Growing up in the wooded suburbs of Duluth, Georgia, a major inspiration for her poetry include scenes in nature.

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