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My childhood is a train to Kerala



This Town


at every turn

a fire burns in this town

crackling with old newspapers,

turning pink the palms of those

huddled around it


i drink in every sound,

every two temples down the road

a brawl breaks out among

hungry kids for a piece of someone's

glamorous charity, broken into pieces

and scattered on the road as if for birds


neon lights on old vegetable carts,

hiding under their bling

the darkness of the soul that

pushes it around all day

endlessly, like a local sisyphus


i turn the pages of my violent novel

as my maid shouts into her phone

of mysterious killings in her

hometown of long and i

suddenly don't scoff as much at the author's retellings of the past


in this town of recurrent warmth

and recurrent violence

i seek little pockets of peace,

in crackling fires and faraway books

in lanes forgotten and repainted schools


the bazaar is the event of the week

the ultimate culmination of the town

a procession of colors and men and women, 5 rupee rides and popcorn

stalls, more merry-eyed kids

and lesser rough-hearted brawls.



Marmalade


sweet sticky marmalade on crusty bread

endless sunshine through a creak in my door

it has been so good so far, it has

i cannot stop but crave some more


wet hair, petals of marigold in my hands

a black bindi on the mirror that takes my vanity

day in and day out, i frown i smile i scream

i lay a big invisible shroud over my insanity


dusty sepia windows, greet me as i travel

through warm, fragmented orange light

a child cries here, a woman sets it up on her thigh

here, a tired man with the world on his shoulders

there, an unpleasant fight


i trudge and walk and bask in the light

little blades of grass stick to my dress, comical yet pretty

like glitter on a child’s bemused face

i brush it away like a verse in my mind, and think myself witty


scattered, yet the very same, the exact same

the day i live over and over again

delights me to no extent on some blessed days

and some days bring me inexcusable pain


a love song blasts from someone’s flashy car

a dog runs amok with its leash undone

a wide gaping emptiness takes over my chest

i reach for my heart, the night has begun


walking back home, i see wildflowers on the pavement

i look forward to another morning of marmalade and toast

of inevitable sunshine and bliss beneath my eyelids

all i have to do is just leave a creak in the door


A fistful of childhood


my childhood is an old man with a black and blue scarf

my childhood is a white-haired woman with a million tales in her heart

larger than life, larger than art


my childhood is an orange-tinted room with a lopsided shelf of books

my childhood is an old malayalam rhyme with no chorus or hooks

a melody of chaos, a myriad of looks


my childhood is a kind vendor who gives me free things

my childhood is a gypsy girl clad in a blue salwar kameez who sings

frozen in memory, pulling at heartstrings


my childhood is a cry against the balcony railing

my childhood is a sore throat and crying and hands flailing

imprinted in my mind, guilting me daily


my childhood is a train to Kerala and the girl I met there

my childhood is a big jump into loving arms that oil and braid my hair

green and glittering, free of despair


my childhood is a kid following me around with big innocent eyes

my childhood is a badminton game under blue skies

half-toothed promises and a scream of "ice pice"


my childhood is longer than a poem could say

my childhood beats inside my heart day after day

day after day

day after day.

 

Ananya Nair


Ananya often writes from what I observe in my everyday life. She believes even the mundane holds so much potential. After graduating, She hopes to work in publishing and bridge the gap between good stories and people. She often struggles to define herself but she believes she is someone who tries to find a little bit of good in everything! Ananya's ultimate goal is to own a rustic bookstore in the mountains. She can easily be identified by her large brown tote bag.

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