An ode to the Nose by Meenu Maria Jose
The nose is the ugly duckling
in the face family.
The black sheep.
Every other part of the face
has million-dollar companies
selling out lipsticks, eyeliners,
highlighters and the like
to make it pretty.
But the nose is that poor kid
in school in a tattered uniform
and snot, trying to fit in.
For two years now, our noses
have been living as refugees in
the tent of our masks due to Covid.
They are back in their homeland now,
smelling frangipani flowers,
smoke coughing out of trucks
and following the wafting scent
of caramel popcorn sizzling in theatres.
Somedays, my nose believes it's
a flute made of skin and cartilage,
like something the pied piper
would use to lure children.
It likes luring my body to my
mother's rajma chawal on
the days I'm sick.
But I know that what my nose
liked best was burying into books
and finding validation and home there
that it couldn't find anywhere else.
Having spent its days nosing
through the hallways of Hogwarts,
my nose is convinced that in
the fight between good and evil,
the nose is the most important weapon.
Why else do you think
Voldemort lost his battle?
My nose was god's afterthought by Srishti Saharia
i wake up to the face my ancestors
brought with them— stubborn eyes
that refuse the refuge of UV-tinted
tents of prescription glasses,
instead borrow light from the blind;
sleep is their only language of prayer.
my morbid mouth is sinking deeper
with every peck of moonrise into
the bird nest of my throat to
incubate the hunger for guilt and
forgiveness inside my body.
my mother's hand on my forehead
is the eraser of my ancestors' misery.
my ears have rented silence on
an expired lease— the sound
i fear is the only sound they hear.
my nose is sitting in the centre
of this poem like a prey waiting
to be devoured, or a bleeding bible
that doesn't know its religion;
this nose, it feeds on april's feasts,
snorts pollens and political poems
for a jovial high in springs;
my nose pokes patriarchy at
the shin and ends up bloody
and broken too often;
it dreads to decipher
the scent of loss from
love because it has inherited
the tender tendency to 'mis-smell'
one from the other;
the famine of forgetting the smell
of my history is plaguing my nose.
my nose was god's afterthought—
hurried and incomplete,
stuffed between the eyes and mouth
like foreign vowels forced
amidst confused consonants;
its bridge from where my pride goes skinny-dipping early in the morning
is arranged to pose as a question—
an anathema or a crucifix?
the tip has an awareness of its own,
it flinches at the smell of grieving gods
living inside the bodies of decaying girls.
the river of my ancestors' bones
in my nose, the only source of light,
is clogging my ability to sniff out
the rogue ruins from the royal realms.
i want to get the septum pierced
but need is the hierarchy inside my mind
and i do not need to kill my mother.
there is a love poem waiting to
be written about the mole on
the left edge of my nose
[where all the treasures of
my self-love is stashed]
and i am a poet,
of course i am conceited enough
to conceive one myself.
and so i write tonight,
to my ancestors this angry
attempt at an apology from
the longest-held breath and
the deepest of my dreams
with a sigh from my belly
that has morphed into ink,
because this nose?
it is one of the buttons of
god's own baby-blue linen
shirt that she hand-picked
and sewed on to my face,
the kind she planted on
my mother's face,
and i owe every seed of
moment in the womb of this earth
to that round, little button which in
its turn only owes me the request
of my last breath to be baptized
a bullet and to consent
to the desire of living through
death when the time comes
riding on the back of a fair mare
to knock on the doors of
my chest to elope with the flesh
and wounds of my heart
to the heavens.
— excuse my self-hatred, please
A Nose Ring's Ode to the Nose by Khatija Khan
The first time i met you was on an ordinary summer afternoon
in bombay bazar's scrounging heat
where little boys were waving their stiff handkerchiefs
near the pale old shikanji stall
which played Jagjit singh's ghazals on F.M
and a young couple was biting snow cones dipped in black currant syrup from disposable paper cups.
you, walking towards me, were a temple
I, a muslim, was so curious to enter
that i could hear riots storming in you, on you, around you, already in my head. there was a bloodshed when you held me in your palanquin, stains of pain filled every chowk we walked through together and i heard tremor-like sobs underneath your skin.
the next day when the war decreased to its aftermath (pomegranate seeds squeezed), we swam unconsciously in bubbling lakes of coconut oil and drank our vitamins from the navy blue parachute bottle.
each time i rotated around you, i discovered my axis through your 2 mm diameter pinhole again and again. all the goblets of air you inhaled were for the magical universe i was ringed around with a mighty white bead that added honour to me while you added honour to it, compensating it the right to make you look pretty. then on friday and saturday nights we wore lacto calamine and vaseline to shimmer the whole next week and create a syzygy of a courageous nose and a jingling nose ring.
please accept my apology for the days you turned into a rotten jujube and sobbed silently under heavy breaths. the days when you looked like a shrunken raisin and ached for air, air and air quietly without taunting me. i am so sorry for all those times when your olfactory indicators refused to respond to the fragrance of your favourite ice-cream due to the ache of holding me but we still ended up together like happily ever afters just because you kept me close to yourself.
i confirmed that you and i glued together, are hashtag soulmates, hashtag made for each other, hashtag couple goals, the day when a lady complimented both of us. "goddamn", she said as if we were the chartbusters of the whole body, as if we rocked the show without actually singing.
i bet you never imagined what life is going to grow into if you ever give up on it. without you, the universe will succumb into a tiny whit.
names, places, animals and everything will sear into nothing.
without you, the world will lose its face. people will have all the oxygen, all the nitrogen but without you, they will lose their breath.
and i? i will be useless.
i will lose my homeland.
If it weren't for noses, true love would go untested by Avni Aryan
I'm sitting in granny's verandah
when the smell of her syrupy malpua
reach my olfactory receptors and suddenly,
I'm flying barefoot into her kitchen,
only to return with oily fingers, happy tummy and satiated brain.
And I think my father secretly admires
the way I've a skill to detect
if the greens are cooking
and accordingly plan my unhealthy snack before dinner.
Have you ever wondered how incomplete the food experience would be without the smell?
MasterChef judges roaming around in their big, scent-less kitchens with one parameter stricken off their list to judge dishes on,
Your brilliant, straight-out-of-oven brownies
without the sweet smell of cocoa sugar,
Your morning Adrak chai
without the comforting 'khushbu' of ginger,
Your favourite mutton biryani
without the aroma of heavenly spices.
(I bet finding an Elaichi then would make you madder than it does now
when you know it didn't even contribute to the wholesome whiff before the first bite.)
I sometimes subconsciously notice
deviated nasal septa in people sitting in waiting rooms
and wonder what the shape the fog would take in a cold spatula test.
The nose is a wondrous creation,
A boy I loved once called my nose 'cute'
I've observed in the mirror that I've a little button nose
that my aunties used to pull when I was kid,
which automatically scrunches up when I disapprove of something
and which quietly suffers the tyranny of blackhead removal strips every once in a while,
which runs & loses its function during an episode of rhinosinusitis and still never complains
of how irresponsible I'm with ice candies during winters
and which comfortably squishes
to perfectly fit against the long nose of the boy
who kisses me gently, softly, lovingly.
If it weren't for noses, you wouldn't have your personal little air conditioning system that regulates the temperature of the cold breeze of December as well as the hot loo of May that you breath in,
If it weren't for noses, Voldemort wouldn't stand out,
(we'd all be just pure bred Slytherin descendants)
If it weren't for noses, there'd be no hair lined cleansing system to protect you against your pollen allergies,
If it weren't for noses, true love would go untested because of the inability to determine
survival skills in the morning breaths & sweat pits
of the person
Nose serves to pour life in your otherwise dead being by Farida Rangwala
Such a deliberate thing
Is the nose that adorns your face,
Sometimes breathes freely
And sometimes strangles on its choice
I wonder there are even types,
Too busy to know your need,
So flexible to welcome themselves,
To give their judgments
In any place, even they ain't required.
Is an awkward moment for the lovers
When interrupts their first peck,
Then turns it innocently,
Into a giggling Eskimo kiss.
Walks hand in hand with you in the utopia
Drenched in the fragrance of spring,
Also reminds you to escape
From the litter of any kind.
Its place is higher than your mouth
Thus more sophisticated,
Gets to inhale the aroma of your food
Before it could reach your tongue.
But lower than your eyes
So less manifested,
Doesn't get the privilege
To behold the colors splashing in the world.
But this doesn't make it any trivial
For it serves to pour life,
In your otherwise dead being.