Two Poems

    By Aekta Khubchandani

    I’m the slowest smoker

    that I know of. I’ve watched
    a squirrel eat a groundnut from shell

    to nut, three pigeons bob their heads
    and chase patches of sun on a cobblestone

    pathway around me. I wonder if
    the sparrow flaps its wings faster than

    the speed of light. There’s a black pigeon
    —-charcoal and burnt sawdust—-

    with a teal green neck, a spotted bird with
    a yellow beak, whose name I don’t know.

    A dog stops to gawk at tulips
    and two more squirrels play

    a game of catch-and-cook. Sunlight
    is determined to draw new markings

    on the basketball court. The sycamore
    trees are so bountiful that I miss them.

    A red bird, its colours flaming
    like fresh paint on canvas,

    is stealing glimpses of me. It has feathers
    as bright as the burn of my cigarette

    and there’s light drizzle,
    the clouds taking time to empty themselves.

    My heart is an oak tree

    It’s big and branching,
    it must be a hundred
    years old. Or my heart
    is a wine barrel.
    I’ve had much to drink.
    There are flowers growing,
    facing the mud and soil.
    Blooming is a small, sad thing.
    Meanwhile, the birdsong
    is more melodious.
    Then bad things happen
    alongside good things
    like crying and breaking
    into laughter. Funny things
    happen too like I ate lemon seeds
    after reading a poem, or I saw
    a squirrel nibble on an acorn
    and imitated it. I wonder
    about vegetables, how they
    soften when they’re spoilt
    and that we cook them on low
    flame to soften them.
    These matters of the heart
    must be left to take their course,
    that is if my heart is an oak tree
    or I’ve just had much to drink.

    Aekta Khubchandani is matriculating her dual MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry & Nonfiction) from The New School in NY. She is the founder of Poetry Plant Project, where she conducts month-long workshops. She is the winner of most recently, Epiphany?s Breakout Prize 2022 in Poetry among others. Her film, ?New Normal? won the Best Microfilm award at the Los Angeles International Film Festival. Her work is nominated for Best American Short Fiction, Best Microfiction, Best of Net (Poetry), and others. She?s working on two hybrid books.

    Subscribe to our newsletter To Recieve Updates

      The Latest
      • The Usawa Newsletter June ‘24

        There are no chairs for audience in the court room You sit on the window sill

      • Test
      • Navigating Appetites, Feminism, Loneliness, & Murder

        Butter is the first of the books by prolific Japanese writer Asako Yuzuki, to be

      • Food That Becomes Something More – Aditi Yadav Reviews The Kamogawa Food Detectives

        In his magnum opus, The Physiology of Taste, published in December 1825, just

      You May Also Like
      • Empathy: Prime Mover of Suman Keshri’s Nimitt Nahin: Review By Mridula Garg

        The epic Mahabharata has been a treasure trove for centuries for thousands of

      • To Break the Unbreakable by Tejaswinee Roychowdhury

        Hollowed and furious eyes from behind wrought-iron cage doors followed Yasmeen

      • An Everyday Affair By Gargi Binju

        It was really an everyday affair The woman who lived in apartment number 44/5

      • Crossing the Threshold and Other Poems By Lina Krishnan

        Gauri departs To Himavan’s Cloud realm Father’s heir in name & courage