• Ashley Bao

gnats in my head


Artwork by Ananya Singh, staff artist

i cut my teeth on my failures, sharpen

each bloody word with a moonlit whetstone

wonder if broken cicada shells should fill my

ribcage, if vibrating grasshopper legs should whisper

in my ear drum.

i should be coughing up apologies to my father’s god.


i shred carbon bones on a spinning wheel’s needle, let

the point rip miniscule tides into the

linen ocean, let the broken ends brush my heavy thighs,

fireflies weave my thoughts together, pull each strand taut,

so i can poke cleanly through.


veins of sugar sap branch in the back of my palm, aphids

swimming through to reach each memory, natural straws

sipping until every gram of glucose is gone

i wonder if they can taste the guilt.


if i forget, it never happened.



(First published in Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry, 2020)



Ananya is an 18 year old artist and animator. She was born in India and moved to Chicago at 4 years old, and is now an animation student at SCAD. She might be a Youngarts finalist but she is also a fierce competitor on the nap battlefield.

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