Before they knew campaigns and street plays,
Before they developed calluses that mocked pedicures,
My smooth kidfeet
Had discovered that putting one step after another
Could take me a long way.
Smug feet, cool ground,
I thought the ants were in my way
And had to be reminded
About who's who in the scheme of things.
My feet (con)descended on them with complacence
And a moment became large enough
To simultaneously contain both:
The smell of liquid iron
And the sting of the point from where it oozed.
I'd like to say I always learn my lessons quickly
But to give credit where it's due
My teachers were sharp.
And whenever someone exhorts me
To magnify my life
I think that, actually,
I only need to be precise.
If you live at a place where fogs do
You'll know sometimes people keep walking
Not because they can see clearly ahead
But because that's what they know.
Where fogs descend, the temporal nature of promises is known the best:
Affirmations are mouthed only to vaporise the next moment.
People stick together in any way
To barricade the winter.
I am worried my grandmother doesn’t sit
And she is afraid to,
After all these years
Of having been kept on her toes,
Waiting on others hand and foot . . .
She says she’d no longer be able to stand
If she sits down now.
If I sit
I shall remain sitting.
She sat with a stoic face
As her friend went on and on
About her dislodged tooth.
As if one tooth could be reason enough to leave him.
These things happen between couples
But you don't trifle with marriage.
What a madwoman her friend was
Angrily muttering she should have broken his tooth in answer
Why would she want to rob her husband of his tooth
And make life difficult for herself?
How would he then chew
The ground glass she mixed in his food?
Ankita Anand's writing has traveled through India, Pakistan, Singapore, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, the US, and the UK. She is also a journalist, and has been facilitating poetry workshops for children in low-income communities. Her work has been supported by multiple fellowships and awards in India and outside. An archive of her publications can be found here: anandankita.blogspot.in.