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poem for parents

CAS for Database

Gia Bharadwaj

Newton, MA, USA

The Winsor School


poem for parents

So I stand on the sidewalk, peeling cuticles

and finger brushing my hot forehead. So I wait

for your Honda honk from behind my back

to make me fear wheels. So when you holler

Hey G from the open window I feel the whisper

of my mother’s stirring spoon in your sun spotted

hands. The cool car stings my mouth. I almost

choke. So I can’t stop watching myself, all big

nosed, in the rear-view mirror. So you’ve got

spoiled gobstoppers in the cupholder. I think

if I chew one will I ever chew again. So: wet inked

grocery receipts, fuzzy dice and stray quarters.

So I meet the eyes of a homeless man during

traffic, so you step on the gas. So I saw him weep

gobstoppers. So you dial to gospel radio and it’s

I love Jesus, Jesus saves in thick jazz. So Jesus

is a righteous gobstopper. So you sing and hum

along, the steering wheel is a piano. So I fear

you. So two women walk their dog beside barbed

wire and cradle palms like pink-skinned babies.

So when we pass a cemetery and a song cuts on Jesus,

you say G, I’m telling you, it’s those goddamn demons

again. The music crawls back white maggots

at my neck. So I’m gobstopper bruised,

I’m flatlining on your upholstery, I’m sick

with unbelief. So I think of you pushing

my stroller, pushing my swing into whiskers

of cloud and the stale taste of a pacifier. I wonder

if you’d love me if you knew I was gay

or call it bullshit. The woman on the radio

just found god, so I wonder if you know

I never will. There’s no spit left in my throat.

So you can’t hear me. So you just hum and tap

your toes, dizzy with Jesus as my teeth rot.


“poem for parents” roots you to the spot. Its style is riveting, with the aggression and sharpness it imbues into a superficially simple scene, and its content is even more emotive. You can visualize every tense heartbeat of its car ride, every silent grief this child feels for their parent. You’ll find yourself lost in this piece’s ebb and flow—and… let’s just say you won’t look at gobstoppers the same way by the end.


Gia Bharadwaj is a high school student from Boston, Massachusetts. An alum of the Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship, she has been published in the Galliard International Review, Crashtest, and The Augment Review, among other literary journals. She also co-founded Chinchilla Lit, a magazine spotlighting young writers. Gia enjoys baking and hanging out with friends in her free time.

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