Your nails peel yellow out of jars of salted lime
Afternoon kites hover over a neighbourhood peepul tree, and branches crack open
termites. You wait; you let the oil shine on your nose like on the rim of an old stove
Your bosom bears silently the green of scanty meadows, the scarceness in an old widow’s home, desires trapped within a cooking vessel
Glasses of maar that you hand out to children coming to your door for the sounds of evening prayer,
Lemon drops and mustard, salt smattered by the tip of your thumb.
Tuloxi… you beckon her with the silent need for company
Ragged books, thread-bound, their pale-pink illustrations of gourds growing on rooftops. You would pluck them someday climbing that rickety ladder in the cowherd boy’s thatch
The handmade soap clinging to it all the time. 5 paisas, dead beetles growing into moss. You could cook them with grated ginger
Dinner would be served on the courtyard that day. Pooh-kalin… the cotton on your
belly wrapping the humble curves whistles. Your hair jumps free and brings to mind
kohua fields from childhood.
That patch of white land you had paused by, toes digging into the feet, chest tingling,
tongue dry against teeth.
You had turned back as immediately; bent and gathered pieces of mica.
Beaten and flown in the wind –
Jugs of sweetwater adorn the meal I offer the old men. The swamps have travelled ten
feet to the north, carrying with them bags of jute and fireflies
Like the sesame paste we suck on melodies of rubble, they are past all meaning-making
Prerana Choudhury has completed her masters in Arts & Aesthetics from JNU. Her writings have appeared in The Four Quarters Magazine, The Seven Sisters' Post, The Eclectic, The Sentinel and in anthologies like Inklinks and Indus Valley.