Poetry / March 2013 (Issue 20)

Eating a pomegranate in English

by Ishita Basu Mallik

won't be difficult. Recall the word advanced you
to the finals of a high school quiz. Someone
will teach you to unlock its rooms
with only the smudge and press of physics. Someone will cast
your father's ashtray as seed
Still you'll gamut slow to restless,
spelunking gum-yellow crags for sunsets
that burst, one hopes, into antioxidants

even if you did buy the damn thing by accident.
Pang of the heart, pang of the tooth—Hariti's tooth
that tickles in reform; dreams taboo
into tissue.
Your mother meanwhile has learnt
that chewing the pits
gives you cyanide poisoning, though not
what cyanide poisoning gives you.

Eat that pomegranate for hours. Let dogs unfurl
from streetlight shadows. Let Jupiter,
winter's knockout champion,
nurse that three hundred-year old eyeache.
This semester, let other girls go back to their roots.
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