Editor’s Choice

Megha Sood



Desire and its Haunting


They call us animals, those who think they hold a lien to our souls,

for this haunting, for this incessant wanting


that lives and births every second in this sinful soul of mine

only to be judged by those exalted Gods in heaven


The slithering, intertwining hunger for the flesh

a desire that turns this kindness into love


our desires birthing the fire of life, the plinth of our existence,

the effervescent of the small wants—


that exists in every nook and cranny of your wrinkles,

those small marks at the back of your neck


that slender neck catching the apricity of the kind sun to reward

The one and the only thing


that sits and sings softly with a moan

in the soft pink bosom of our longing and wants


the one that calls your name in the thicket of the night

the one like a brightly burning star as it reaches its death


Like the simmering collective songs of Monarchs

and we put our innocent wish on its wings


How fragile is this love? How tender is its existence?


Like a penny clutched in the soft palms of a kid caught

in the sheer excitement of holding and letting that red balloon go.



Fruitless Attempt


Thin corridors of silence cave in as I walk through them—

my elbow grazing old memories and reshuffling feathers of time.


I know this path is tainted with my pain cutting too close to my skin

but still, I wait with my ears pressed to the walls to listen to one sweet hum,


one solitary note of lullaby to make it to this side of the wall.

Loneliness has no language but still needs interpretation.


What does one need to be whole?

Who could tell?


But here I am stitching old tattered parts of me in this frail afternoon,

Looking at the sepia-tinged pages of my family album,


losing pieces of me to this damn time,

and yet feverishly trying to make me whole.




I no longer need the pain and expectations from someone who does not or ever will walk in my shoes. Empathy is a virtue and I have learned that not everyone possesses it. I no longer need the fear and the pain from old wounds festering in my soul. There is a timeline for everything and everything comes to an end.  I know and firmly believe that to begin something, something needs to end. I no longer need the support of the false and thin friendships that crack and wither at the touch of any test or tribulation. I don’t need the affirmations from friends who always see someone as their needs and wants. Sometimes I wish there could be a mechanism, a sieve for finding real friends and family in one’s life. They say time is the ultimate test but I ask feverishly why I have to go through the circle of false expectations and pain to find the real people who can withstand the moving gale of life by shouldering my pain and struggles. I no longer need the exhaustive list of missed deadlines, milestones, the bloated goals as I carve my path through my pulverized existence, like a shining flickering hope, in the tiny abdomen of fireflies warming my backyard. I no longer need the false acknowledgments from those who could never see beyond their false promises, desire, and hunger. I no longer need to walk on this path to become the epitome of perfection for everyone around me when their own identity is laced with falsehood and deception. I no longer need the body to carry the pain as a remembrance of the wound, a language for my broken self. I want my body to heal as a prayer, unmoored as a kite tasting the blue kindness of the skies. I want to embrace the bold declarations of my truth and for the world to see the new me.


A Wound Is a Siren Song of Stasis


that cuts both ways

I’m wearing your name like a scarf

with the color of the wound

around my neck

your name sits like a welt

on the tip of my tongue


This wind always reminds me of you

the boisterous gale when it batters the weak

saplings outside my broken window frame

we are walking on the serrated edge of the life

hoping feverishly to reach another end

unscathed, free, and running free like laughter in the trees


We all know what the hurt smells like,

I can still see the hurt behind crinkled eyes

half-hidden behind the masks

That’s how we know we are alive

We are together—

huddled together in a cage ready to be slaughtered

Life is a menagerie of pain and pleasure mixed alike


I’m a bloodhound of grief—

sniffing its presence, its weak presence

I know there is a story behind the laughing lines

that you wear bravely on your face

I know for sure that one day

when we pass each other in the

cold corridors of our high-rise

I will take your hands

cupped them in the soft part of my palm

and will sign a soft lullaby in my ear


One that will heal and fills the cracks in my broken soul

I once sat at the foot of my grandma’s bed

waiting for her to wake up in the middle of the night

to scare my nightmares away with the slightest movement

of her soft wrinkled hands


Taking me in the nook of her arms

my body takes shapes like a well placed period

at the end of a question mark

slowly rising and falling with her heaving bosom

gentle believing that it is true

when they say,

some souls are healers in disguise


gently scrubbing the color of my wounds

from my broken self,

making it invisible to the world around me

To heal me,

slowly but surely.




Megha sood is an award-winning Asian-American author, poet, editor, and literary activist from New Jersey. She is also a Literary Partner with “Life in Quarantine”, at Stanford University. Her four poetry collections include My Body Lives Like a Threat (FlowerSong Press, 2022) and My Body is not an Apology (Finishing Lines Press, 2021). A 2020 National Level Winner for the Poetry Matters Project, and a Four-Time State Level Winner for the NAMI NJ Dara Axelrod Poetry Award. Her 850+ works have been widely featured in print, online journals, public exhibits, and anthologies including the Poetry Society of New York, MS Magazine, NYPL, Pen Magazine by American Pen Women, PBS American Portrait, NPR, WNYC Studio, etc and numerous universities including Stanford University, Howard University, George Mason, University of Chicago, etc. She has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of Net. Her works have been supported by the National League of American Pen Women, Kundiman, Pen Women, and Martha Vineyard Creative Writing Institute. Member of National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW), The Artists Forum (USA), ArtPride (NJ), and United Nations Association-US Chapter. Her widely anthologized poems, essays, and other works discuss her experience as a first-generation immigrant and woman of color. Her co-edited anthology “The Medusa Project” has been selected to be sent to the moon in 2024 as part of the historical LunarCodex Project in collaboration with NASA/SpaceX. Find her at https://linktr.ee/meghasood


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