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jol-khabar (জলখাবার)

i eat poetry for breakfast
with cherries and green almonds and everything else
that smells like home, feels like the universe
has settled down after a long night, and tastes
cool and sweet. i hold poetry between my fingers
freshly plucked, still hot from the vine, i smell
its newness, the ripe odour of a well-wrought verse,
the sweetness and the promise, before i bite.
it drips over my face, and i want it to condense
into my skin and give me beauty, pour into my limbs
so i have rhythm, sink into my body so i become
an unforgettable image you tell your friends about
tomorrow. i drink it like it’s homemade lemonade,
by the jugful, and come back hungry.
sometimes i store it away as jam, gift it to friends,
or leave it in the corners of my house to rot.
i have enough poetry to share.

market value

when i was born my body was bathed in milk
so that i never forget that i am meant for consumption
by unfamiliar hands and tongues. when the price of onions
began to rise, they began to strip my layers apart instead.
i have learnt to make myself digestible. at my wedding,
i will be swathed in turmeric, kissed by berry stains,
bruised like overripe fruit. i have known as many mouths
as a buffet, greedy fingers picking at my meatiest bits
until i am little more than a carcass, bones stewed over and over
to make diluted soup. they will wrap me up in banana leaves,
steamed and mustard-scented, to sit patiently next to mounds
of the white rice which feeds the poor, and call it auspicious.

Trishita Das is a student and writer from Mumbai, India. Her poems celebrate and archive the magic of ordinary life. Her work has been featured in journals and platforms including Ayaskala, Airplane Poetry Movement, and Teen Belle. She also enjoys culinary experiments, fluffy dogs, and bathroom singing.

1 Comment

  1. Eric Paul Shaffer

    This work is fun to read, challenging and surprising. The final lines of “market value” are particularly impressive. Thank you, Trishita, for sharing your good work.


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