Leela Raj-Sankar

breakup texts signed "best regards"

we're looking at an oil painting of
an open window. you offer me half

an orange: small enough to be cupped in
the center of my palm but soft, too,
sweeter than i'd expected. today, you say,

was simple. it was easy--we walked down to
the farmer's market and shared fruit, bought honeycomb

from the beekeeper with crooked teeth. we made the bed;
folded our laundry. we finished every errand on the list--

even cooking a real dinner, which i always
seem to forget. the narrator points out this

snapshot, how if you were just looking at
these moments, nothing would ever go

wrong. the narrator points out how
humans carry so much at once and it only hurts

some days. you, of course,
see the worst of me:

the endless pacing around my
bedroom, the glazed-over eyes and
conversations where i lost the plot

halfway through. i throw out my toothbrush
and find a new apartment for my memories, tilt my own chin up

with two fingers. i say,
i'm waiting to be myself again. you say,
remember to buy groceries tomorrow. this is where we

exist: together, whether you
like it or not. the narrator says,
i need you, i love you so much, and i say:

this is a sunset in central park. i say,
i hope you like what i made for

dessert. i'm sleeping on the floor. i'm
covering your eyes with my fingers. i'm

letting orange juice drip down my jaw and apologizing
for my appearance, for the entrance fee to the

art museum and the days we spent
locked inside. we romanticize this

lyricless music, this quiet life we've built for
each other in the space underneath

our fourth ribs. we're looking at an oil painting
of an open window and you see just

that: a glittering light,
the brilliance fluttering its wings beyond

the frame. a peeled clementine and a crowded
room and your words:

would you like to dance? i'm looking at an
open window and i'm debating whether or not
matisse would think we're standing

too close. i'm looking at an open window and i say it, i say it
loud enough that you'll hear me over everything:
give me your hands.


Leela Raj-Sankar is an Indian-American teenager from Phoenix, Arizona. She enjoys drinking obscene amounts of coffee, researching her latest obsession, and making far too many Richard Siken references. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Perhappened, Ex/Post Mag, and Stone of Madness Press, among others. You can find her blog at https://wildflower-of-the-sea.tumblr.com/