How many times can a piece of paper be folded?

Seven, I read somewhere.

A soul, a person, I think, can be folded smaller.

I do it –folding myself into myself,

layer over layer, close, tight, till I’m in danger of bursting.

I want to be shut in, or rather, I want the world to stay out.

It is an irritant, like a grain of sand is to those clams that make pearls.

And I am not talented.

I am tired of embellishing my discomfort

with the world and its flashing, dazzling presence.

Even if it gives me some satisfaction, ultimately, even that is stolen from me.

So I strip myself of opinions, shut the door on my subjectivity

and cage my fluttering thought-butterflies.

Speaking lets the noise in; and all I need is the silence.

Vijaylakshmi Harish

Vijayalakshmi Harish is the author of Strangely Familiar Tales (2020). Her poetry and short stories have been published in various literary journals and anthologies. She was recently nominated for the ‘Inclusive Librarian’ Award by the Belonng Library Network and has been a Finalist at the Orange Flower Awards multiple times. She also writes for Women’s Web about feminism, and more. She is a voracious reader, enthusiastic gardener, and a fan of all things mythological and magical.

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