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Ritual for Winter by Nisha Ramayya

Begin and end with a question: “Do you want to exist ad infinitum, on the borders between life and death? ” If you can, find a massive pomegranate, thumb its ruby eyeballs, skin its white skin, direct its rosy fingers all the way down your forearms to the tips of your elbows, then anoint your knees, your legs, your feet. Now you are become pomegranate, sticky key to the underworld, for as long as you don’t shower.

Release the synthetically coloured jelly worms from your paunch’s faerie pouch; don’t let your jitters slither when they go go, discharge those party poppers. B asks: “Do you have the courage to be less beautiful than you actually are? A question for poetry.” Draw stars in purple glitter on the faces that you see and then don’t see in the mirror. Don’t shower.

C counsels you to ask yourself: “How can I give that which I want to cultivate? ” Choose the metaphors that suit and support your life, your cycles, your intentions. Let your love come out in tears, immersing your eyelashes in the great salty link. Sow what remains of your wishes in potting mix, neglect them tenderly.

It is said: “There’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip.” Hold onto your Sports Direct-mug-sized mug with both hands. If you plan to make a sacrifice for the sake of others, consider the desire not to sacrifice less than other others, and whether that can or should be harvested. What will they eat when you’re bloodless?

Nap indoors in the greasiest slice of sunlight. Tickle your interior extremities until all your kittens are purring concurrently. When is seeding burying; when is lying fallow death?

Build a studio under your tombstone; descend the ladder from your coffin to your artist’s life. Down there, houseplants are strung with noses, lusty robots stand by in clouds, and cracked toilets explode. Renovate as you like, you are safe and warm and safe and warm, you have access to clean running water.

H says, D translates: “I write poetry in the language of the inner organs, things that splatter out of nostrils, erasing the language of men.” Splatter your new year’s resolutions, divine the starry night of your handkerchief. Play the first five seconds of Shri Ganeshay Namah on repeat until the universe is an oscillating harp string, until the harp string snaps.

This ritual was originally published in the Ignota Diary 2020. The Ignota Diary 2022 is now shipping.