Presenting “Triumph XV,” an original poem by Shweta Narayan in celebration of National Poetry Month, acquired for Tor.com by editor Ellen Datlow.
Shweta Narayan was born in India, has lived in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Scotland, and California, and feels kinship with shapeshifters and other liminal beings. Their short fiction and poetry have appeared in a number of places, including Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, and We See a Different Frontier.
Shweta received an Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship, was shortlisted for the 2010 Nebula Awards, and co-edits the speculative poetry zine Stone Telling.
Tor.com celebrates National Poetry Month by featuring science fiction and fantasy poetry from a variety of SFF authors. You’ll find classic works, hidden gems, and new commissions featured on the site. Check out the Poetry Month index for more poems!
Triumph XV: Vetala
Each night I pick another hollow face,
another accent; tell another tale
to try to show myself. Each night I fail
and slip between your fingers to that place,
my tree beneath all sound, my scattered parts
of seemings, stories, splinters. I belong
outside, between. I tell the truth all wrong —
a shifter, knowing only shifter’s arts.
This hiding’s all I’m good at. How to show
— to be — the mask you want. I pass, I pass;
the price is growing thin, unseen, as glass,
so hands slide through my cobweb bones. I go —
to haunt this corpse-ground. Waiting, trapped, for you,
I hope that next night’s story will get through.
“Triumph XV” copyright © Shweta Narayan 2015