by Kunjana Parashar
The bagworm hangs from the cliff of wall. She hangs from the gas meter and hangs from the colander. From the udder of my eye, she hangs and drinks the moisture. Marks my cheek as an eyelash. It is tenuous, her hanging in the breeze. So tenuous I say fine, you can stay with me. So she sways from the rim of my cup, watches me drink the tea. Full of pudina and elaichi. She asks me for rotten wood, paper and debris, so I give her the keys to my locker. She eats the house deed and licks my dead grandmother’s ring, hanging from the big lock the big banker brings. Then she rides on my shoulder back to the balcony where our talk is all silence, red snakes and fire baked inside bricks. You eat too little, she says to break the silence, not the snakes gathering. Then crawls this way to feed me a morsel of wind. Lick this, she says, holding it inside the grey fold of her skin. I lick it, always with the faith of a child licking honey from her wrist. From her small hands, I drink a jug of breeze that tastes like rain that hits like hail pelleted on cracked earth-feet. Isn’t it good, she asks, crawling up the steep road of my nose now, hanging between the bridge joining my glasses. It is good, I nod without agreeing.
This poem received third place in our 2023 Prose Poetry Competition.
Kunjana Parashar is a poet from Mumbai. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Northwest, The Bombay Literary Magazine, The Indian Quarterly, ASAP|art, What Are Birds?, SWWIM Every Day, Columba, Heavy Feather Review, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2021 Toto Funds the Arts award for poetry and the 2021 Deepankar Khiwani Memorial Prize.