A Poem by Anjali Bhavan

Inanna walks through Delhi

Inanna bites off her askance and saunters towards my

front door. I float away into her hair and dream of

cacti and sandalwood and take her through my city,

through brown shadows and gilded stories, through

cheap candy floss and obsidian eyes, through

spiced water and love’s laboured alleyways coloured

in gunshots. She stops in front of a barber’s mirror

to spit on a man’s history of unremitting touch, then

straightens her robe and sprinkles lavender on a girl’s

prayers. We walk over to India Gate and Inanna wants

to go to the very top and carve the names of every girl

she had ever blessed on the sunset, but she instead

pulls out some time from her toes to curse a husband

holding a goblet of unheard violence. She shouts and

she hisses and buys herself some anklets to not wrap

around her feet, but to hear them jingle in the only

unfettered happiness she sees around her. I tell her,

stop. Walk over to an unnamed library in a street

named Chandni, and hold some silken buttermilk to

your lips. If the sun forcibly etches marks on your arms

and makes them a brown of its own liking, do not

fret, it is a story of our land and our abuse. If you pet

a dog in Karol Bagh, I promise it won’t bite you. And if

you ever leave a chant about your fragrance in

a house built on the smells of books written a hundred

thousand jasmine breaths ago, I promise it’ll be read. I

promise it’ll be loved. And until then, would you care

to wash your feet in my frail womanhood and sit in the

Vaishno Dhaba for some Makke di Roti?

Anjali Bhavan is a 19-year-old engineering undergrad. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming in Speaking Tree (a weekend supplement of The Times of India), Esthesia Magazine, Coldnoon International Journal, Allegro Poetry Review, Sooth Swarm Journal and Cafe Dissensus Everyday among others. Her short story was once published in A Twist in the Tale, an anthology by Max Life Insurance. She currently writes on her blog, for The Wordsmiths and for High on Films.