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to being girls together

CAS for Database

Aarna Tyagi

Jericho, New York, USA

Jericho Senior High School


to being girls together

you / with your pork-belly facing the butcher’s shop / guns ablaze / one hand on my shaven head / the other on your baba’s 柳刃包丁 / willow blade knife.

     you / with sour questions on saccharine lips / aching for holy release.

               you / with that sweet, gummy smile / melliferous words drip like           cassonade / from your pithy tongue.

               we were seven—

                          we were seven—

                                     we were seven—

                                              and we were girls / but we were girls together.

her name / cactus fruit / gossamer hair like glochids / her mouth / impatiently feasting on half-ripe pericarps /“peach pits are poisonous” / so i swallowed one / sealed with the promise of lips haunted by sins.

        i was born head down / shame ingrained in every crevice of my skin / every skinfold weaved into another lie.

                  you were born an axiom / leaving a litany of visceral aphorisms in your wake / priestlike / yet i prayed for you anyway.

                  we are fifteen—

                              we are fifteen—

                                             we are fifteen—

                                                      and we were seven / but we were seven together.

                                                                  “and we will always share the same sky.”


Identity does not exist in a vacuum – we are the accumulation of our family (blood and chosen), our culture, and fundamentally, our experiences. “to being girls together” proves that. Woven within each line is a fragment of the speaker’s life, tangling and intertwining themselves until you start to see something emerge that resembles yourself. Resting at the intersection of culture, found family, and sexuality, “to being girls together” is one of those hauntingly beautiful pieces that will stay with you past the page.


Aarna Tyagi (she/her) first fell in love with writing in seventh grade during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when poetry turned into a source of solace in a turbulent storm. She is an Iowa Young Writers' Workshop alum, a finalist to be the first New York State Youth Poet Laureate, a columnist for the Spiritus Mundi Review, and a spoken-word poet for the Incandescent Review. She enjoys reading books, writing poems, and listening to music that speaks to her soul. Her favorite musical artists are Mitski, Radiohead, Lana Del Rey, Sufjan Stevens, and Boygenius. If you can’t catch her listening to something on Spotify, she's probably reading poetry by Ocean Vuong, Anne Carson, and Sappho or novels by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, and Franz Kafka.

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