Hailey Duggirala

United States

My name is Hailey, and I'm messy in love with everyone.

Message from Writer

I'm glad that we can all be here together in one place in the universe. There is something tragically beautiful about the lot of us, and something cosmic about the gathering of our combined minds. I hope I write something that makes you question yourself, and hope that I may glean the same understanding from you. Godspeed.

Published Work

Flash Fiction Competition 2019

Another Headline

    When she heard the first shot, Mac reached for the desk in front of her. She grabbed Amy's hand and squeezed. She hoped Amy understood. Amy squeezed back. The tightness of it made Mac's hand ache. 

     They hid under desks and windowsills. Someone turned the lights off. It was natural, a routine they'd done hundreds of times, imagining a moment just like this. They had all come to expect that they would one day be next.

    When the door opened, Mac shut her eyes.  
    Amy screamed.
    Then he opened fire.
 

Monostich

Hold Me Like A Bird

Arms held wide even as they wrap around me-- as if you know I was born to leave. 

Monostich

Hold Me Like A Bird

Arms held wide even as they wrap around me-- as if you know I was born to leave. 

Year by Year

16

Year One: I am standing with my mother by the water in Washington. I laugh as a duck takes off. 
Year Two: I kick my sister off the bed when my mother turns her back. Her nose bleeds and I go to bed early. 
Year Three: We lay in the bed. My father throws a green ball towards the ceiling of our trailer and makes promises I am still young enough to believe in. 
Year Four: We are running through the sprinklers in our new house, tongue sticky-sweet with cherry popsicle. I step on a bee and my foot swells to twice its original size. 
Year Five: I start kindergarten and my father is hundreds of miles away. I cry on the phone. 
Year Six: I cry leaving. I cry coming home. I just want to stay somewhere. 
Year Seven: I can't make friends in this town, but my teacher is nice and lets me stay inside to read. She...

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2017

To my unborn sister

You will be a strong woman born into a world that values your silence.
I don’t want to tell you to fight,
Because these words, this message, comes with a price as vulgar as the fingers clamped over your mouth, and I don’t expect you to choose one over the other.
I want to write a poem that will tell you that you are beautiful,
But how can I do that when I spent the first 15 years of my life attempting to shrink my body
like an old cashmere sweater.
Children cannot grow in a world constantly telling them to be smaller,
Quieter,
Little girl speaks when spoken to,
Little boy goes to play outside.

What’s the point of writing poetry about flowers
When you cannot flip through a magazine without being reminded that
The world would rather see you starve than flourish,
And for only 9.99 a month.

God,
I want to write you a poem about worship, ...

Beyond Reason

Could I fly, then?

If the bird never had to land, would it?
Did you think about me when you got on the plane?
If I spread my arms out wide enough, could I catch enough wind to take me away?
How do butterflies know where home is, when I can't seem to find it?
 

Op-Ed Competition 2017

On Uniting

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a jew. Then  a they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me”. Martin Niemoller.
        In total, I’ve moved 27 times. I’ve met a lot of different kinds of people,and have judged them all accordingly. And I’ve noticed 2 things. YOu can always pick other people apart. There is always something to otherize the people you are surrounded by. I think, if we tried hard enough, we could make the whole country seem foreign. I have seen the ways in which we can turn our communities into war zones, turn our brothers and sisters into sensationalist media articles.
  ...

One Sentence Story

A starless night

It wasn't that he was afraid of the dark when she left, just that he had never known how starless a sky can seem when one is in love, but alone. 

Universal Knowledge

You don't have to say a thing

Love;It's always been love, the way one person becomes more, and eyes become galaxies. 

Twenty-Six Sentences

Xanthopetals on the cliffside

Almost to the edge, but not willing to look down. 
Beaming sun gracing her cheeks.
Caring family warns that where there is an edge, there will also be a-
Drop. 
Everyone is afraid of something. 
Frigid spine, wide eyes, tense legs, she finally looks down. 
Gaping canyon, dark, bottomless abyss. 
Heart beats too fast.
In that moment, she is infinite. 
Justifying an existence she sees as a burden by the feeling of the adrenaline rushing through her veins. 
Kept his locket in her pocket since last september, finally took in out again. 
Lost to the cavern, lost to the darkness. 
Mostly glad it's gone.
Not entirely sure she can stay on the ground without its weight in her pocket. 
Olive fingers turned bone white at the knuckles, grasping at air. 
Perhaps it would be better if she backed away now, the deed done. 
Quiet is the decision to jump, loud the protest of her wretched heart. 
Return!
Silent shouts, whole...

Paint Swatch

Grief Grey

Grief grey
You may not know it yet, but you will.
Grief gray is the sky on the morning she will leave you. You will know it then, if you can turn your eyes even slightly heavenward with all that blame lying heavy on your chest. 
It is the color faded from your mother's cheeks when you see her in the doorway, the dropping as your stomach hits the floor, mouth open in a silent question. 
Grief grey is the answer.
It is the hand me down clothes stuffed in the closet, the ones he will never grow into. Your children will find them one day, when you have almost forgetten they are there, that you could never throw they away, and you will see his favorite Wiinie the Pooh Pj's, all 
                faded
                    to
                        grey. 

All Talk

You said we'd talk

"You said we'd talk."
"We are talking."
"No, you said we could talk about-"
"There is nothing to say."
"Nothing to say? Nothing to say? She's gone, John, we can't just pretend it didn't happen!"
"And why the hell not, Lucy? She's gone, there is nothing we can do to bring her back. Why the hell do we need to talk about it? You talk through things like they can be fixed, that you can save, but you can't. Nothing here can be fixed. She isn't around for you to save anymore. Nothing is going to get better. Everything here without her is broken and unsalvageable. Can you fix that Lucy?"
"No, John that isn't what I mean, I'm not trying to fix anyth-"
"I didn't think so. So why the Hell do you want to talk about it?"  

Mysteries Abound

My father wasn't always an alcoholic, you know

We don't know why he was the way he was, or when he decided to throw his mind out the window and take the rest of us right behind him. 

We don't know where we would be if he was still here, or how much worse things would have got before getting better. 

We don't know how people can just be there one day, whole and happy and a father, and then become a nightmare the next. 

And we certainly don't agree on why he found comfort at the bottom of a bottle that he could not find with us. 

Open Prompt

Anxiety~A poem

Some nights, I don't sleep.
Some nights my mind is a casket
Crawling with regret,
Rotting.
Like the pieces of you
I refuse to remember.
Hoping they died with you,
That I will never be the person you were,
Though I swear sometimes I see your
Eyes in my own.
Cold and broken,
Hot and inraged.
And the chills crawl up my spine,
Suddenly nauseous.

Some night my mind is a clock.
Ticking,
Counting down the minutes before
Morning,
Questions.
Did I lock the door?
Did I check on my Anna?
What if I-
Hailey please,
we have been here before-
But Hailey, don't you see,
That's when the bad things happen-
Why can't I just sleep-
Where is my inhaler,
My heart is clenching,
My lungs are screaming,
Where is my inhaler?
And I know an anxiety attack only
Lasts for 15 minutes,
But some nights,
I don't sleep.
There are days when I can't help
But remember.
I'll...

All in a Name

My mother's middle name

My name is ever changing, as has been the nature of my existence up to now. The first, without much significant meaning, the last at times a burden I feel I must carry, or pride, or sometimes both, like I'm being torn from both ends. The only constant is the one in the middle. Four letters, neither they or the word they form unique in any way. And yet, my middle name is the only constant part of my identity that can be quantified. It's my mother's middle name, which is both ironic and comforting. Ironic, because she, as it, is the only part of my life which I can truly depend on. She is my constant. Comforting, because every time it is said I think of her, and feel overwhelming pride. For she, she is my mother, and I have seen her face worse storms than Oddysseus could dream of. My name, like my existence, may be ever changing....

Quartet

She left last night

    She packed her bags, quietly. She left in the dead of night, never the one for dramatic exits. I can't say I was surprised.  Her hair ribbon is on the dresser. She always leaves something, for next time. It isn't saying goodbye, not really, but it's comforting all the same. It means the pattern will continue.  Loving, leaving, self destructing, self medicating, and coming back again. Cruel, but always the same-it means she will come back to me again someday. She left last night again, without saying goodbye. She never says goodbye. It's this rule she has-saying goodbye makes it permanent. Saying goodbye is messy. And so we never said goodbye, her and I. 

After... After... After

After I left

After I left, after I let the rain wash away the smell of your house, the smell of you, after I lost the ability to differentiate the salt water from the tears, after what felt like a million showers that could never make me clean, after I stopped listening to songs that reminded me of you, after I stopped lying with my phone beside my pillow at night, after the sad poems, after angry poems, after nights that made everything blur together like the edges of an old photograph... After all this I found my way home... Then, I began learning to forget the way cool fingertips can make youth's rosy cheeks feel so warm. 

0-9

Don't go too far

0. they didn't give us any warning. were they supposed to? All I know is that it's dark where I am. Dark, and cold. Silent. I've never been anywhere so empty.
1. I thought I saw a light, but it was only an illusion. There is no light. I'm starting to wonder if there is such thing? Am I only imagining how the spring sun drew daisies from the frozen ground? Is there anything else but this cursed, eternal dark?
2. I think it has been two days, though I have no way of knowing. It couldn't have been more than four, surely, for I am not yet dying of thirst. 
3. I am very afraid. I am grasping at the edge, holding on to memories, but I cannot imagine a world outside this prison. 
4. Here there is not only darkness; here too is insanity. I'm afraid I have found it. 
5. My mother took me to the river...

After... After... After

After I left

After I left, after I let the rain wash away the smell of your house, the smell of you, after I lost the ability to differentiate the salt water from the tears, after what felt like a million showers that could never make me clean, after I stopped listening to songs that reminded me of you, after I stopped lying with my phone beside my pillow at night, after the sad poems, after angry poems, after nights that made everything blur together like the edges of an old photograph... After all this I found my way home... Then, I began learning to forget the way cool fingertips can make youth's rosy cheeks feel so warm. 

Quartet

She left last night

She never says goodbye. It's this rule she has-saying goodbye makes it permanent. Saying goodbye is messy. And so we never said goodbye, her and I. She packed her bags, quietly. She left in the dead of night, never the one for dramatic exits. I can't say I was surprised. Left without saying goodbye;she always does. Her hair ribbon is on the dresser. She always leaves something, for next time. It isn't saying goodbye, not really, but it's comforting all the same. It means the pattern will continue.  Loving, leaving, self destructing, self medicating, and coming back again. Cruel, but always the same-it means she will come back to me again someday. She left last night again, without saying goodbye.