Strings 1

‘dreams jangling with lost connections’

March 2024

Almost Weightless

She was off.
Flying away on a soft burgundy seat 
Hands clasped loosely, a sunny
Absolutely not worrying knot in her stomach.
She was off and the train stood still

Rolling green cardboard cut outs 
On fixed rotation in the window.
Roses outside burst into bloom as she looked,
Still and transfixed upon the glass.


Men on the train, trays around necks,
(i am flying over my skin)
Bright voiced and straw hatted, brittle and dry.
She looked at them, trying not to think.

(this wasn’t how it was supposed to be)

Red collar on white dress,
The girl on the platform waving
Roses dancing, grass creaking

Inside, she opened her mouth –

Water coils in.
holds light from above.

Black wisps through a necklace
on a body lost at sea.

In her head she’s all right:
                    Legs limp
        Eyes white, swing swinging,
She’s collecting her scattered sand.

                                                                       There is a moment
twisted, constricted, hair caught in a hare’s breath, 
and – 
I have come, I am close by –

In her head she’s fine –

MANNIKA MISHRA trained as a sociologist and designs conversations for an AI chatbot for mental health. Her fiction has been published in Hazlitt, Gargoyle Magazine, Your Impossible Voice, and Miracle Monocle. She lives in New Delhi.