It goes like this: the first fist, finger grab, opening of eye,
babbling. The skin, soft as feathers. And gravity, reaching
from under, pulling down our skins, one from each finger.
I swore to keep you safe, swatting away the flies, as delicate
as you were. And you, child, goddess, infant of dying woman,
infant of my dreams of near-coming. A tiny hand, an ant,
or a maggot, maybe a bird. If a bird, then a dove. Perhaps,
a pigeon. Or maybe the quiet cocoon, but not the whale.
The whale—only when the water reaches deep and you,
you don’t let its salt hurt your wounds.
Smriti Verma’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Word Riot, Open Road Review, DoveTales Literary Journal, Canvas, Textploit and Yellow Chair Review, and is forthcoming in Alexandria Quarterly, Inklette and Cleaver Magazine. She is the recipient of the Save The Earth Poetry Prize 2015, offered annually by John Felstiner, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University and Charles Weeden of The Weeden Foundation (read her award-winning poem). A high school student in Delhi, India, Smriti is a poetry reader for Inklette and an editorial intern for The Blueshift Journal.
This poem is not previously published.