— Poems by Aranya
Volume 2 | Issue 1 [May 2022]
Leave a piece of mango skin
on the counter.
In a few seconds,
a shrubbery of ants grows
around the broken wing
of saccharine sun.
with halberds for hands
the soldiers, burnished brown,
pillage the flesh
of this city.
Do you remember when appa would
bring home the city in the evening?
wry smile on his face from bargaining
or because the fruit seller who knew him
had kept aside the good ones.
We’d savour them together, you and I,
peeling back the prickly coat,
a scar soaked in mountains’ blood,
bequeathed to the fruit in some ancient ritual
to guard the immortal secret –
a seed that has grown wings.
At home, we used to empty the milk
out of plastic packets until the last viscous drop
Then, we let running water in
just enough to let it swirl.
A little game
If it broke, tai would squeeze lemon,
the milk disintegrating like tectonic sheets
on a map of the world.
Mostly it lived, and we would make tea,
or add haldi, enough to tickle the cough out
Sometimes it would become paaisa.
In the end she would rinse the packet dry,
and stick it on the tiled kitchen wall
to sell back.
I think of this ritualistic purge.
It sticks in the mind
what we do to feed ourselves –
and how it taught me to love.