here are some stories I want to read over and over again,

to catch every bit of glinting light slipping through the space between the sentences.

Phrases of spun-silk written in the lines in my grandmother’s palm,

prose mixing with the smell of fenugreek and mustard seed that never seems to leave old kitchen containers,

faint echoes of generations in my mother’s voice that I sometimes think I can still hear,

What is ancestry if not our most intimate narratives? 

What are families if not our most telling libraries? 

I often wonder if I’m the first queer person in my family’s stories,

or just the first one to survive the retelling. 

Was there someone that slipped into the space between the sentences, 

too vibrant to find solace in the final print? 


distorted reflection of my own soul born 

too soon, too far to escape revision?

Am I bloodline of painted lips and silk sarees

On bodies with shoulders too broad for definition,

Am I phenotype of callused hands holding on to a lover,

the physical expression of ancient DNA?

I once heard the opposite of one great truth is another great truth,

Is that why you were buried in silence so I could speak your name from my heart’s muscle memory?

Tell me,

what it feels like to speak and never be heard,


I still know what it feels like to speak and never be heard,

I wonder,

If I get to be included in the next edition.

If I write my tears into the impression of your footprints,

Will you follow the trail to a future in which I exist?

I will place a flower at every crossroad,

To remind you of the wisdom we never got to hear,

the subconscious of generations in full bloom,

I am waiting to plant my own seed. 

Tell me,

Are there gardens on the horizon?

Or just the silence of [redacted].

Swetha Ramesh is a Queer, South Asian writer and  educator living in Charlotte, NC. Graduating from the George Washington University's Elizabeth J. Somers Women's Leadership Program with a B.A. in Organizational Sciences, they are currently a 2020 Corps Member with Teach for America. Deeply passionate about increasing representation and access to resources for QTPOC, their professional and personal goals are rooted in a desire to redefine policy through a queer lens. When they are not teaching they are conducting kitchen experiments on the food blog @a_penne_foryourthoughts. Follow them on Instagram @thatsswethas.