Moss: Volume Four is out now! Visit our online store to find the piece below, alongside work from dozens of other Northwest writers, in a beautiful print edition.

Instruction Manual for Child
Shankar Narayan 

 
-lgorithm
 
-rithm
 
 
rior
happened
 
 
 
 
like child
-configured
 
 
act
 
 
 
tric lies
glassmelt
 
-phor
 
here is the a
here is the algo
 
scrape sandal paste from body
like Parvati make a war-
 
who would love her
no love
 
-manual for robots
is cub
 
loop loop if then
 
 
just to see how you re-
see if you break
 
always remembers
silicon windows
there are no real boys
 
 
so many potential
so many potential
 
 
 
 
 
 
this never
 
 
your name
you learn
 
remain you un
i am cruel to you
 
 
an elephant
 
how light hits
grows nose in elec-
 
is meta
 
circuits
differences

1  ·    ·  



rhythm
-less
 
flatten
your mother
 
separated
-separated
 
separated
-separated
 
years
is alien
 
to kill
 
 
its house
to violence
 
the boy
the boy
 
to force
to break
 
because orbits decay
 
ellipsis
 
 
 
 
 
by cosmic distances
by
 
tell you who
tell you who
 
 
to break
 
 
some
 
is on his knees
is begging
 
 
 
 
loop loop
 
hum into me
-bot un-
 
un
un-
 
un
light-
 
 
 
 
force the boy
 
 
force the boy
-thing
 
 
you not
 
him
him

2  ·    ·  



-self
no one
 
can see me
is a uni-
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
-head
 
 
 
 
 
-out
-out
 
 
-mover
 
kill
only as in
 
disturb my ritual
 
naked
verse that
 
into a real boy
a real boy
 
but not too real
else i must be
 
 
a smile
 
see the third eye
opening
 
warning
warning
 
you are warrior
 
 
 
-structed
let
only you
 
every sandgrain
could turn
 
without warning
 
 
 
 
 
see the trident glittering
with three fangs
 
 
with
 
with
 
 
re
of obstacles
 
 
 

3  ·    ·  



your name
 
 
and are you
would you
 
 
you would
 
 
 
like one
 
 
 
 
 
is Ganesha
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
one would raise you
 
 
 
 
-one would love you
 
 
 
 
child
 
 
be
be
if only some-
 
 
 
if only some
 
 
this never happened





Shankar Narayan received a 4Culture grant for Claiming Space, a project to lift the voices of writers of color, and his chapbook, Postcards From the New World, won the Paper Nautilus Debut Series prize. He is the winner of the 2017 Flyway Sweet Corn Poetry Prize, and has been a fellow at Kundiman and at Hugo House.

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Moss is a journal of writing from the Pacific Northwest. Published annually in print, Moss is dedicated to exploring the intersection of place and creative expression, while exposing the region’s outstanding writers to a broad audience of readers, critics, and publishers.

The piece above is now available in print as part of Moss: Volume Four. Click below to order the volume online, or find it at an independent bookstore near you.
Featuring new writing and interviews from more than two dozen Northwest writers and poets, Moss: Volume Four is available online and in stores now.
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