Shakespeare’s Lavinia

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Artwork by Japanese designer Yuko Shimizu

A clandestine tragedy, as I watched you sleep in some comfortable and some questionably comfortable positions while I stared at the walls half drunk.

For a moment, I was twenty again, looking at the blood stains, questioning when love turned into a massacre of my body. He forced his way two into two things that night, one of them being my sanity.

Then, I was eleven years old, watching cartoons with a man my mother would pray for. The man said he wanted to play a game, took out a coin from his pocket, and asked me to hide it in my body. While he searched, I cried, but never loud enough for my mother to figure out why I wouldn’t watch cartoons anymore.

And then I was twenty-three again, lying with you, who had more mercy. You made me wish I could let people love parts of me;

But the hate that they sowed, and I gardened for so long, didn’t let me betray it.

And I know that I have a face that isn’t kind, my words spit out like thorny pines, but honey, if you know me,

I’d make paper boats for your younger brother when it rains, scribble notes for you to read over the fridge, make you not so burnt toasts when you stay the mornings, and do a better job at loving you than my own body, that’s become Shakespeare’s Lavinia.

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Prastuti Deka

Prastuti is a PhD student in English literature, specializing in travel narratives in India. She firmly believes in the power of art as a means of self-expression and revolution. Pursuing her work and art keeps her happy, grounded, and helps her navigate through every phase of life. Her Instagram handle is prastutideka


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