We are delighted to present this week’s selections from the Brain Mill Press Poetry Month Contest. We received many outstanding entries, from which these pieces by Paramita Vadhahong stood out. We hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we did.
Poems by Paramita Vadhahong
A Meme Reimagined: Love between the Gaps
the sound + the fury = the unwritten sister
My brothers, my brothers, they press my body against the pages of our family’s handbook and
call it stained. I am not human, I am sister, I am the earth beneath the tree, always unable to
climb its branches and look the truth in the eye. But I climb the tree and try to overcome the sky;
I am the only one who can the only one who dares the only one who wants.
The want rakes the walls of our house and awake in the night to glint at me from the shadows
It breaks the glass and flood my head with forbidden siren songs
They think I drowned and lost myself in the notes but it isn’t true
They don’t know that there is melody in this darkness
Honeysuckles bear stories like seeds that spring from their mouths like monsters in the night
That these are my monsters my garden of stories my want my unshackled want
it comes alive in the spaces between the narrative and there i stand seeing myself stir in the
valley of men
because that’s the only space i can take without drowning from the ink in our and oh how they fear my body the honeysuckle that sways in the wildness
and i wish feeling my blood thrum to the syllables of his name means loving the syllables
of my mine but here we are—
My brothers, my brothers, I’ll let myself burn too bright and collapse in a flash, turn into the
missing puzzle, the maddening enigma, the ruinous witch in each of your stories. Let it be known
that I was all song with no choir, all girl-scrubbed fingers climbing the forbidden tree, dragging
living death at my heels until kingdom come. When you’re a girl, they don’t teach you that
climbing too far puts the roots of men in danger.
B (If I Should Have a Son)
In the style of Sarah Kay’s “B (If I Should Have a Daughter)”
Instead of “Mom,” he’s going to call me Point B. Not so I can stamp my way on his map of the
world, but so I can teach him the possibility of what exists after a dead end. And he won’t learn
just how to navigate the universe, but how to get lost in its underworld so he can surface back up
He’s gonna learn that this life will punch him in the eye and won’t apologize, and sometimes it’s
best to dig in his heels than give back destruction. But getting a black eye will remind him how
much he loves the bloom of light. There is color after the numbing grey of hurt, after all, and
although he doesn’t have to court disaster to see it, he would know what it takes to heal.
“Son,” I’ll tell him, “don’t hold in the pain inside you when it needs to see the light, to shed its
feathers and be seen. Vulnerability isn’t a cloak of darkness, it’s a prerequisite of the human
condition. The more you resist it, the more you resist growth.”
But I know he will anyway, so I’ll keep a flashlight on hand when he needs to dig out of the
darkness. Because life isn’t a cave, and he doesn’t need to resort to stuffing his mouth with
shadows in the act of living.
I want him to grow emotional limbs that bear laughter like trees bear fruit, to have a supply of
them no matter how much the seasons shift and turn. Because that’s how my dad taught me. Joy
may not be your constant companion, and some days it will leave you to stomp over your own
shadows, but it always comes back because where else could it go?
You, with sunshine beaming from the undercoat of rainfall, will always know how to win over
About Paramita Vadhahong
Paramita Vadhahong is a Thai teenage poet and writer. She has lived in Thailand, Bahrain, and Dubai, and is currently settled in Houston. Her work mainly focuses on female strength, queerness, and the struggles and triumph of creativity. She is a contributing writer on Mindfray and has self-published a poetry chapbook (Raise the Black). Her writing can also be seen on Quora and Medium.