As a child, I used to chew paper,
As an adult paper chews me
seeking an apology.
When love triangles mantled cinemas
Now I wondered if they too can be
solved by Pythagoras theorem
When I carried a grape in my chest pocket,
wondering if my burning heart
could ripen it into a resin
When I traced the world map
with a red sketch pen
wondering if Earth and Mars
would then be twins.
When I wondered if they sold
women in black polythene bags
When I intentionally left one shoe
outside the temple wanting
it to be found by a prince
I am glad, there's no cinderella today
Perhaps if there was one,
The news channels would collapse
she is a Hindu or a Muslim.
I was neither a child
of summer, nor winter.
When I was a child,
I wondered. I wondered too much
that if fingerprints were
shadows of my fingers
Or if earth shaving her green
body hair after being stigmatized
too was deforestation.
If climate change is
universes' menstrual cycle
Or why white is never written before black?
If blindness comes out of vision or
Does the moon know
The signal glitches
because satellites are tired too?
A childhood left unanswered,
grew up into a question ending with a full stop.
2. Even justice has ice
Once a lawyer questioned my wit,
"Tell me precisely, the number of hairs on my head?"
I smirked back at him, counter questioning —
"Only if you can tell how
many files more your courtroom
tables can endure"
On the banks of Ganga they worship,
cries a cremated body
holding tight to her country's jurisdiction.
Yet I know, I know it won't melt
Ours is a world jabbed in its stomach,
Where humanity doesn't know
if it should fly or migrate,
Ours is a nation with pimples on
its face mistaken as hot air balloons.
Do not tell me, you demand justice,
When you yourself spell it as just-ice but not just-fire.
Those who refuse to write poems on
the bonnets of their trucks but slogans
on their foreheads owe us a law dictionary.
We who pluck the flowers before smelling them,
dare to make an eyewitness pledge over a holy epic
I tell my faith to tie its shoelaces tight,
because it topples every time I see the youth of my nation
marching with candles in their hands, screaming
"we want just-ice"
There's certainly a ball in your court,
So stands a woman in a satin gown blindfolded.
A weighing scale in one hand,
a corroded sword in another.
My lord, I don't beg for justice
Perhaps there's more "just-ice"
in the hearts of your criminals.
I just demand fire,
A bucket full of fire,
to blow life in my quenching pyre.
3) Read me our constitution to sleep
Why do poets love roses so much?
Because a beautiful poem
to be completed,
demands bruised fingers and
an enchanted nose.
You loved me with a dictionary,
Where every word found its meaning.
I am loving you like a telephone directory,
Every number I dialled connected yours.
They tell me, I came empty-handed
and that I shall not take anything with
me out of earth's fences.
They are those who don't know,
my luggage was my minuscule
heart I came with
and I shall take it back,
All full of you.
you hesitate to ask me,
Why do I love you so much?
I love you because every time I
rub savlon on your wounds,
and you burst a pearl
out of your oyster alike eyes
You remind me of my homeland.
Out of all the ways a man can die off,
If I die from a heart stroke.
Don't rush to the hospital
screaming my name
Because it is the death I desire.
To die with the seismic
amplitude of your name.
We glued the temples of
our palms together,
Yours was the right one,
mine was on the left
The moon in our palms was crescent
Perhaps I'll sleep tonight blaming
it for our incomplete fairytale.
If a book had a tongue,
Would the pin-drop silence
rule in libraries still be valid?
It is the history, that books have
always been celebrating
Even by those who don't read them.
Perhaps you celebrate the
constitution without ever reading it
Our lungs could write poems,
Every breath of mine is a
word in your praise.
This is the ballad we wrote.
I lament at our roles
— you were ink, I was paper
Because ink fades but yet the paper stays.
Hush, don't tell the trees about the hands that planted them or they will grow as their fate.
Ananya Aneja writes about women, wars, refugees, and everything that has a throat but lacks a voice. One can read more of her poems on her Instagram.