i feel empty.
when the day comes, there is no light.
there is a gaping wound in my chest
being slowly carved into a second face.
the demonic hand grips me with its talons
and pushes everything inside me all at once.
overwhelming, it makes me feel.
yet at once a smile appears
on my face in which people see -
nothing but me, and only a version of me.
but when darkness ascends, there is a spark.
it speaks to me, it is my friend -
a safe haven, all troubles put aside,
it invites me into this beautiful den
in which no explanation, no proof need be:
just me and what i need to be.
me and my heart, we don’t have to beat.
this hollowness that stands before me -
its fulfilment expands into wonderful things.
come another day, my troubles are past.
remembering back, the hallucinations don’t last.
a brief moment of weakness, it was.
a glimpse of what happens when emotions take over;
not by fear, but by hope itself -
the possibilities and all it entails.
but what if that hope doesn’t last,
and yet again we fall into this pit of heavenly hell?
More Than My Ending
When I approach your doors,
Greet me not with finality
Nor pressure me to sleep,
Have me not chained and begging
For you to lend me peace -
For I will come prepared,
Ready to accept your hand,
And I will treat you faithfully,
Hoping life doesn’t end with me.
When I cry myself to reality,
And say goodbye to family,
Find it in your heart
To not take me so suddenly,
Nor lend me your helping hand
When I have yet to surrender only.
When you disturb my thoughts,
The way you do so daily,
I ask for understanding
In my faithful imagining
Of yourself being so graceful,
So tender just like sleeping.
Let me fall not so suddenly,
Nor let me leave entirely empty;
Let me have the satisfaction
Of saving my gentle memory.
For even now I am hoping
You are more than my ending -
And when the time comes,
You bring a new beginning.
Inside the sari shop we are sitting.
Touching and talking to the vibrant stitchings
Of fabrics long-stretched - as if to the River and back,
With which my hands make contact,
And I feel myself come alive.
Of every colour I see, the next one is better;
Canary-mint with an explosion of heather,
Black-blood with the scent of bitter-sweet paan,
Sangria-gray like an old woman's last days -
When all that exists has been sought
And gracefully washed away.
Designs and demonstrations of Banaras’ history.
The people can be seen singing and dancing
To rhythmic melodies of their rich, old stories
Of a time when the country came to a beginning;
When my father was yet to be born,
And my mother, yet to be living.
In another moment, I live elsewhere.
Back home in the city of the faraway me,
Sitting and talking to all the distant things,
Feeling out of place in a country I was born in.
But in this shop, I am sitting.
Playing with the cousins for a long time I won’t see.
The marriage is tomorrow, the reception the day after -
And here I sit with my sister, choosing my mother’s sari.
I will travel around Varanasi, breathing in its air
While the temples and drivers surrender to their prayers.
I will search the world and seek wonderful things,
But nothing as eye-opening as what has come to define me
Here: in my mother’s city - Varanasi.
Take Me Back
it’s back again.
out of the blues
it has appeared
to tear and to wear me
into one of its many mists.
i am droplets -
from bright and
that softly sing me.
take me back
to your vacation
when you slept
in others’ dreams.
leave me alone now,
for i have been rising
than what you made me.
but you are back again.
and now i am splattering
to your infectious rhythm
of pain and desire
to go back
to when i was fire,
and you were nothing.
that when death comes
the soul borne away with the air
traps itself in reflective surfaces.
is it because
humanity fades into existing
whilst refraining from
allowing their truths
to seep into reality?
is it because
we glimpse at living
through a depleted surface
we allow not our capabilities
to invade our very mind-frame,
bleed into our deepest secrets
and reveal our ignorance?
do those mourning souls
hold on to the living,
straining for every fibre
that reflects blissful being,
yet being unable to pass
through that barrier of death,
into the nation of lies and secrecy -
into the waves of sanity,
away from insanity
and far from terrifying reality?
someone once said
the difference between tragedy and terror
lies in how it is terror that exists
when humans realise
What they are truly capable of 
stories hang in this midst of a crowd,
waves of emotions
and unfathomable existence.
in the after
is when these tangible imposters
wash away with the wishes of the fallen -
and are borne away from
the opposite land of what we call
 A quote by Joseph Brosky - a Russian-American Poet.
there is no limit to my fall
like a feather i am weightless -
weighed down to nothingness
in all that defines me
as my burdens sing me
into the tragic song of humanity
when the wind whispers its stories
it does so delicately
and so entreatingly
that i become everything
and nothing and
all at once i define me
yet i have no ground
when i see suffering and pain
and feel it too deeply rooted
in my -
where do you belong?
where am i and who can i be
when there is no limit to me?
like winds over the salty seas
my direction changes so often
i have become aimless -
but with my sense of confusion
comes also that of clarity
when i understand that you
how infinite we are in our abilities
and capable in our self-assurity.
how insignificant in our
and unknown as the dust
of past memory
nothing lives on
because everything fades
the light of a new day
but i know that with me
what remains is my limit
and how undignified it is
in crossing all boundaries -
allowing me to become whoever
i think i can be
and making me dance
on the tip of my toes
even when i’m certain
all that is ever tangible
is the abstractness
of these holes
in my heart
and people around me
i see voids ever so consuming.
all that is or ever was has no meaning
all that i am and know
only holds true in my feelings
and i am certain i don’t need anything else
other than that which makes me stop,
in this brief, bright light of
Poem collection ('At Sixteen') by Shruti (Shree) Dubey, 17 years old, Bangkok
"Most of these poems were written during the one year and more I spent at home self-studying for my IGCSEs. (I had to come out of my previous school due to financial complications.) I was cut off from my friends and school environment - the latter was a prominent aspect that defined me significantly at that point in my life. I caved into depression for months after that, and having to navigate my life took a lot of time and emotional rollercoasters.
I had hope that things would work out because I wanted to be strong and confident again, like how I was at my previous school. These poems are only a small fraction of the numerous ones I’ve written since then. Hopefully, you recognise how the themes of depression, loss and hope are ingrained into these poems. From “Heavenly Hell” depicting my sadness to “Varanasi” providing me with a new, hopeful, perspective on my life - after I visited Varanasi, India, with my family to attend my uncle’s wedding - and then “Take Me Back” highlighting how uncertain and emotionally draining isolating myself from society was.
Despite all that chaos, I see character development. I believe that I’ve grown in every way as a result of my hardship, and appreciate the chances that life provides for people to learn - especially about themselves, and how resilient they can be in simply existing."