★ ★ ★ ★
my mother’s morning prayer simmers in fresh makkhan,
i stretch, shuffle my feet and stick my tongue at the sunlight.
she calls to me, her voice a lilt, a lament, a lock of love
& i flinch, flip, flap my arms, settle in the embrace of that sunlight.
makkhan — is a process, mother says, butter’s superior.
when i will be gone, will i find strains of makkhan in my sunlight?
across timezones, my mother’s call shrunken, my arms limp,
afraid of distance, tired of reaching out to the promised sunlight.
at home, mother brewed & brewed & brewed the makkhan.
i learned to pray through that motion: and let there be sunlight.
S, you weep in too many words; let language rest.
when you cannot sip slowly, gulp this winter sunlight.
Swastika Jajoo is currently studying theoretical linguistics as a Government scholar in Japan. She won the second prize in the poetry contest organized as part of the international Glass House Poetry Festival in July 2020. Her work is featured or upcoming in Eunoia Review, Capsule Stories, Riggwelter, Muse India, and Huffington Post, among others, and her spoken word pieces have been featured on UnErase Poetry, one of India’s leading spoken-word content producers. In April 2019, she gave a TEDx talk featuring spoken-word poetry at her school, Tohoku University. She was also invited to perform with Rolling Stone India for Pride Month 2020.