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Mehrish, Divya, Elegy to My Name


Divya Mehrish
Age: 17, Grade: 12

School Name: Spence School, New York, NY
Educator: Sara Beasley

Category: Poetry

Elegy to My Name

I curve with the body of name—
my lips waxy with the melting plastic
of synthetic voice. I call myself in 
sleep, purring for limbs tripping on
bone. I need to unravel the letters
in my gums the way mama used to
trudge through the forest of my scalp—
fingers slithering between conifers, 
peeling bark from elbows. I never 
showed her how to map her way 
through my trunks, even as the comb 
bit through my ears, trying to escape 
sunless paths. I wanted mama to pull 
body from brain—unshielded apex, 
once blessed by the hand of God.
My name whistles through branches 
oozing from follicles like wind 
refracting through teeth—my parents
bled themselves into my eyes. When
I was born, wrists sliced, lapping 
wisps of father’s voice, mother’s gulp
seeping into my pores. I have always
feared water. Now that time is rainless, 
I press the buds of my fingertips into 
stomach—knead skin like the inside 
of taxidermy—unfinished leather.
I hail myself like a storm cloud, like
a Virgin pregnant with the Savior, 
pregnant with self. My name, an ode
to lips chapped with missed anniversaries.