Poem: Kairu

By: Rishitha Shetty

kairu

She’s ten years in limbs

and…….seventeen in parenthesis.

Kairu scratches the velvet of the ground,

with teeth knitted in the jute of a

brown-pink mouth, stretched to reach the farthest corner of the face and touch-

the curve of crumpled-sheet eyes,

…….watching

a dying dragon-fly, through its wings that she plucked this morning.

She sees a leaf quiver- but captures it mid-fall; one less leaf for mother’s broom to swallow.

She’s now meowing at the neighbour’s child, now counting splints on wood, always leaving the last two for his fat thumb.

She sings with her eyeballs, and breaks wind in two,

with fingernails wrapped around a flattened tongue.

She prays in words that may have been familiar in

a place hidden under matted eyelashes, glued together by

open-mouthed snores.

She tickles the sea with stones, clapping her feet when it shies away from her fingers.

She wraps the smell of button-roses in skirts, rubbing the fabric on hibiscus petals-to see if it smells

……………………….yellow.

She colors the air with laughter when-

her cheeks reflect the crackle of flames and her

ears kiss the tinge of orange from

…….a bird set ablaze.

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