The following poem appears in our Autumn/Winter 2020 issue.
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In the first bite, as you break through skin and red,
you know what it is like
to consume borders.
In the second bite, as the sap flows down your chin,
you know what it’s like
to touch earth and sky together.
In the third bite, as you inhale the fragrance
of hands you’ve never seen,
you know the acidic smell of loneliness.
In the fourth bite, you know hunger again
the hunger of those whose apples are shriveled
or rotten or vanished. You clutch your stomach
with all its mushed fruit.
By the fifth bite, your mother is not someone
you’re trying so hard
not to become.
By the sixth bite, you remember to smile
because your children will inherit
a world with apples in it.
By the last bite, you’re counting the seeds
of that single apple. As you pick each one up
you realize that no one can count
how many apples
are in each seed.
PERVIN SAKET is the author of the novel Urmila and of a collection of poetry A Tinge of Turmeric. Her novel has been adapted for the stage, featuring classical Indian dance forms. Her poems have been featured in The Indian Quarterly, The Joao-Roque Literary Journal, Paris Lit Up, The Madras Courier, Borderless Journal, The Punch Magazine, Cold Noon, Breaking the Bow and others. Pervin is co-founder of the annual Dum Pukht Writers’ Workshop, Pondicherry, India.
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