BY SMRITI VERMA
Apeejay School, ’16
2016 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Editors’ List
Mother empties food into containers; mouth into sink.
Her body, golden orb, a mass of heavy muscle and cement.
These four walls – Papa, man of unknown territory,
tells her to bend over and pick up the rotten, clean the salt.
Withering night, how a body learns the shadow of a knife.
And I – the child, daughter of a dead aunt, home of lithium.
When papa comes home, I’m bending over, cleaning the glass.
When he comes home, it is Delhi and three o clock. Mama makes shadow,
patterns in the dark. Steps where he doesn’t, rests like a cuckoo bird,
on perch of flight. If flight meant colouring canvas with a paint of red,
if flight meant purple and other creatures of red.
The sky lights sleek as a corpse’s curve, some signs of a fading life.
And winter, seasons, leaves. The dream I remembered,
of a shivering body – of no homes, no origin. The reality she lived.