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How beautiful it is to go grocery shopping

Art by Emily

1. Ode to Grocery Shopping

how beautiful it is

to go grocery shopping:

walk past boxes of peach and plum,

tumbling over one another

in pebbles of yellow and red.

survive a mountain of oranges,

sitting like suns glowing in their aisle.

pick a few herbs tied together

by someone's careful hands.

sniff perfume of mint and tarragon.

feel the dirt they've grown from,

still clinging onto their stalks.

how beautiful it is to

go grocery shopping:

bag full of what the earth and sun

have grown for you alone.

2. Salt & Pepper

salt and pepper

our freedom and our wealth

on the dinner table

3. Kanthari

i come from a long line of angry women

dots of black pepper on the side of our tongues

there is silence when we talk.

i come from a long line of women

whose fingers were thin, and long

and wrote sentences sharp as knives

clasped their enemies by the neck, i told you

there was silence when we spoke.

my great grandmother

smelled of opinions and walked with a hunch

folding in on herself and still loud enough for all the men to sit down when she entered.

when i asked her, achamma - what is it that makes you so youthful?

(she was 98 and had colour still in her cheeks)

she patted her own concaved back and said

it makes me see the world from the bottom up

it makes me remember how the world should be - trees as sky and full of goodness

when i asked her, achamma - will i ever be as strong as you?

(she was 98 and did 20 push ups before breakfast)

she picked out a green chili, and said

this pepper, this is kanthari - it is the size of a fingernail and will make the eyes of grown men water

so do not doubt your strength even now, when your bones are growing

trust that you will make them regret the bite.

this is how i know that people who are fighters

are not always foaming at the mouth

that they are elegant until the world demands a change in tone

i come from a long line of warriors

of women who have worked too hard

for too long to let me live out my days amongst the linens

of women who have had their teeth slowly give up on them

and have yet to stop ending the debate

so on the days when i am staring at my mother’s linkedin profile

and wondering whether i will ever learn half the skills she has taught herself from nothing

i stick my tongue out in front of the mirror

and remember there is always heat in my words

a way in my walk

a forest fire in my gaze

it is then that i know, with heavy heart

that i cannot escape this

that there is no excuse for my own power - whether i like it or not.


Kaav Ranj is a spoken word artist and poet whose works have been featured in publications across the world (Collision Literary Magazine, Cornell Haiku, etc) as well as India (The Alipore Post, ArtRefurbish, Delhi Poetry Slam).

Her work typically engages with themes of colonisation, feminism, and ecology.

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