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By Kaushik Jasti


Avert your eyes
Invert your image.
What do you see in the mirror:
Maybe the stains of our mistakes are erased by polish.
Erased by tears shed on the surface 
Cries flood memories we wish to drown

“Are you good enough?”
Who is to ask when you must answer 
Pressure folds cuffs on denim– blue reflects your mood
Those words we utter leak venom, but we can’t halt their momentum.
Say the phrase again. Maybe it will sound different. 
Criticism cycles on repeat
Failure tastes so bittersweet 

Gray clouds glutted with rain elope above,
Clouds of worry threaten our sanity, forming a foliage of concern 
The burdens feel heavier, and the storm grows darker
We patiently wait for the feelings to dissipate,
The ascent is repetitive. 
You CLIMB and CLIMb and CLImb and CLimb and Climb and climb 
Trying to overcome the haunting shortcomings 
Until you slip and plummet. 
There is nothing at the summit– only the unknown. 
Peek into the darkness of those thoughts to find the knowledge lost to the universe’s metronome
Without light, thoughts illuminate the route to escape from shame 


The thirst that motivates the journey lectures soles worn down by the march to the spring. 
Humanize the pain by giving it an identity. Give it a name. 
Its unrecognizable face disto
rted by the ripple of the oasis.

You sit silently waiting for the moment to feel 
Indulging upon vices to heal. 
Does watering the soil remedy drought?
Iron spirals catch the threads sowed by doubt.
Fastening nails secure consequences to our actions.

Do what feels best? 
Selfishness poisons compassion. Ask yourself.
No. Tell yourself. 
Lie to me.
   Tell me I’m doing well.
           Tell me I’m doing what I need to be doing.
                           Tell me I’m good enough.
No satisfaction without validation, for dishonesty blankets grief. 

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Nurture your decaying petals wilted by self-hatred.
Happiest asleep. Loneliest awake.
Suffocating in this glass jar transparent to those with self-proclai
med greatness and knowledge of what is right 
Forever ungrateful for the insight.
Advice tunnels out of deaf ears
The negative dialogue remains internal 
Learning - a process that is eternal 
Efface the crooked lines for them to be redrawn 

Objects appear closer in the reflection.
Every great magic trick begins with misdirection.
Before your very eyes, the pains you once knew disappear.
Guilt’s blade draws crimson
Attempts to vocalize the agony are met with silence. 
aged by perfection,
          Words wring necks
               Mumbled words remain unclear.
                     Guided by fear, the struggle is familiar

All that glitters isn’t silver. 

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Argentum | Creative Direction and Written by Kaushik Jasti

Editor | Leah McFarlane

Photographer |  Leah McFarlane

Makeup Artist | Symone Pettis

Fashion Stylist | Aranya Mukerji

Hair Stylist | Aranya Mukerji

Models | Ava Benzan, Grandee Rafael De Guzman, Allyson Imbacuan

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