(from) Becoming Honeycomb MeshI needle blonde fiber for days
I’ve been the boner-killer the one
without humor There is chenille
between bouts of blood I purl it down
so soft scurrying squirrels
skirt of suburbia Mom boots
in a merriment I pray
I palpitate wood palpate yearnings
Sepals scandent I’ve been a coward
candling among reeds Some days,
no barb will wick low enough its pallid tallow
to prevent the forest becoming Ouroboros. Somewhere,
a mother on the sidewalk,
If she is migrant,
I am opportunist
I boulder these words with vowels bolder,
Tree-witch comes to live inside a tree
Tree-witch comes to live inside me
Pale green as olives, Tree-witch
teaches my child how to add / subtract afternoon
weans us to where something prevails,
risible and kicking
Want versus need
Flaw and anti-flaw
Character a pestle
of anger. Fashion it.
Blasphemy a stone
and we become mythical,
tongues scorched and peeling
from burn injuries.
Some nights, Tree-witch peels herself off me.
Some nights she sulks.
Mostly it’s marzipan and togetherness.
Embroider earthquakes. Constant threat
can lead to gratitude. Embroider unemployment.
Each presidential decree cracks eggs in my womb.
Men explain things to me. Beads. Little tinsel.
Embroider: an angel, cherub flying and singing
Or: a pack of racoons,
their eyes flashlights,
feral and hungry
Tree-witch grows jaunty
as a jalapeno plant
This is my real name, she says,
wrecking a painting
Nobody can pronounce it.
a garden must reveal itself
the fragrance of labor
I macrame a tightrope
swung between dwellings
The city mumbles its derision
of belonging and knot
Our bodies are galaxies
Inside us, constellations
like herds of stag
Cherub cherub, the angels sing
and strum mandolins
It is what it is, I say,
picking guns off a palm frond,
masticating in my mouth
their buttery iron
To rest on the rim of lake,
balance between sky and water—
Is refuge possible?
like fairy lights
Every massive undertaking
Anindita Sengupta who served as a Guest Editor on the forthcoming Ice Floe Press Pandemic Love Anthology (2022) is the author of Only the Forest Knows (Paperwall, forthcoming), Walk Like Monsters (Paperwall, 2016), and City of Water (Sahitya Akademi, 2010). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in several anthologies and in journals such as Plume, 580 Split, Perhappened, Feral, One, and Breakwater Review. She has received fellowships/awards from the Charles Wallace Trust India, The International Reporting Project, TFA India, and Muse India. Her journalistic articles have appeared in The Guardian UK, and several Indian publications. She was founder-editor of Ultravolet in, a webzine for young Indian feminists. With over two decades of experience in writing, journalism and communications management she has worked for non-profits such as Gender at Work, Samuha India and Fida International. She is from Mumbai, India and currently lives in Los Angeles. Twitter: @Anu_Sengupta.
Banner Art: Lyre: Triptych, a visual poem by Robert Frede Kenter. Twitter: @frede_kenter.