GLASS, KELP – A Poem by Anindita Sengupta w/an image by Vera Schmittberger

C.W.: Abortion


Two nights in a train,
the adagio of her hands

over tiffin boxes of food
She always fed me so singingly

curries, cake, crumble, pita, pizza, cookies, every day a feast

                                                                        Inside me, love as alga

We were traveling
to her mother’s house

which she still
considered home

she could not consider ours

                                                I did not question so much as obsess

                                                                                  Overgrown algae:
                                                                       filigreeing out of bounds,
                                                                                             can smother
                                                                                                 coral reefs

When we spoke of abortion,
I heard
What have you done?/
the words arhythmic    timeless.
Her shame aged me    girl crouched on the sofa
body curling
& uncurling
its young womb
in high-pitched       altos

                                                                     What is it to be borne?

but she was scared too, the color of her fear, sargassum

                      In some places, they bang vessels to scare ghosts
                                                      Some days I am a ghost of her
                                               like she was a ghost of her mother’s

Now she wants to move cities / to die
where she was born /

The virus leeches along train bogies
We circle the ocean    a warm current.

                                                    There is love here      isn’t there

—& we are subsumed
by diatoms.
See how minuscule they are,
how boundlessly they abound,
how they cleanse the earth.
their shells so heavy they pull
everything to ocean floor,
bury it
                                                         & did you know their shells
                                                                                           are silica,
                                                                  translucent and divine?
                                                             & I want to pull her under,
                                                                                  for us to swim
                                                                         I want to say it’s ok,
                                                                              love and sadness
                                                                  don’t need to intertwine
                                                                     like two leather straps
                                                                   holding up a train berth

The heart is a ribbon un-twirl & twirling into itself,
an entanglement of voices
                                                                          through coral reefs

/Hear me/

Upadhi in Sanskrit means disguise
but also limitation.

Anindita Sengupta is the author of Walk Like Monsters (Paperwall, 2016) and City of Water (Sahitya Akademi, 2010). Her work has appeared in journals such as Plume, 580 Split, One and Breakwater Review. She is Contributing Editor, Poetry, at Barren Magazine. She has received fellowships and awards from the Charles Wallace Trust India, the International Reporting Project, TFA India and Muse India. She currently lives in California. Her website is Twitter: Anindita Sengupta (@Anu_Sengupta) / Twitter

Vera Schmittberger is a photo artist and occupational therapist. She grew up in Germany adjacent borders with Luxembourg, Belgium and France, in an area of forests, hills and mountains.  Her photography emerges out of spontaneous journeys and collaborations with poetry. She finds inspiration in Oscar Wilde’s poem “The Pleasure that Abideth for a Moment” and is a member of a Barcelona-based international photography group whose members create photo art exploring reflective surfaces and shadowy images.

Banner Image: Untitled by Vera Schmittberger 

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