Aditi Bhattacharjee is a sales specialist by profession and a poet by passion. When not at her day job, she is found cooking love poems in her head, most of them in Bombay, where she lives with her cat, Pluto, a second-hand book family, and a growing garlic garden. She is always wondering about things that no one finds worth wondering about like who invented the pillow and why even? or how much time is enough time? Did the ventilator come first or the window? Her works have appeared in The Remington Review, Ayaskala Magazine, Lunch Ticket, and The Alipore Post.
clouds float by
above the cemented half of the backyard
and i wonder where algebra fits in all of this.
not a leaf shakes and even the tube well
has taken a break from leaking.
it’s been four days since a
coconut branch has hung limp-
frail, brown and almost severed.
Nani says it may fall anytime now—
the tree will thrive better to redirect its energies
towards its healthier parts.
(a-b)2 = a2 + b2 - 2ab
the crepe jasmine tree beside it
is no match for this tropical giant yet
The Sun skims the surface of both their canopies
it is past mid-day–the correct degree of
summer for the bananas to ripen,
they are secure in their gunny sacks
to keep the monkeys from reaching them,
half eaten mango seeds remain strewn
from one of their last visits.
Nani will be offering her daily prayers soon
and as i collect the floral offerings of the day
i occasionally stop to count the hibiscus blooms, come
evening, they will droop and by morning the earth
will swallow all evidence of their existence—
that’s probably how there’s a peepal thriving out of a
lychee tree and no one in the household knows how
the papaya sapling came to be in the tomato patch.
i pluck lime leaves and gather wet soil to
scrub tiny bronze lunchware for Nani’s gods
once done they sparkle like the milieu of broken refrigerators
lined up against the far side of the boundary wall
gleaming under an unfettered sun as a welding machine
splits through the day, and even when I am filled with
all this wonder
half memorized algebraic formulae tug me
toward the grim reality of unfinished holiday homework
in the evening, Nani burns some dried coconut hair
with dhunachi to purify the air of the house
after the evening aarti she tells me
algebra lends itself to an Arabic word
al-jabr which means ‘restoring of broken parts’
(a+b)2 - (a-b)2 = 4ab
the coconut branch falls on the eighth day and i
drag it in from the backyard promising Nani
an A+ in algebra if she shows me how to
convert the slender brown leaves’ spines into a bed-broom.
it moves me
that in July the sun sets at 9:54 pm in Dublin
half-way across the world it's hidden in clouds, raining
water seeps through walls and as we sleep in our musty beds,
dreaming dreams of sunny mornings,
it breaks down walkover bridges and work-schedules
and sometimes Bombay drowns
that dolphins are the wolves of the ocean,
living and hunting in packs
and I yearn for a sisterhood
that dogs have a third eyelid
do they call dibs on their humans because they see clearly?
and I read somewhere that dodos were not dumb
they just didn't know that there were those out there that were capable of a massacre
sometimes we can never know what we know now
that Spain's national anthem doesn't have any words
and I love how a good enchilada melts in your mouth
all cream and chicken and cheese!
sometimes words aren’t enough and sometimes they aren't needed
that sea otters hold hands while sleeping
to keep from drifting apart
and I am attracted to laundry fresh from The Sun
because it reminds me of mom
that it takes a photon 100,000 years
to reach from the core of The Sun to its surface
and only 8 minutes and 20 seconds to travel from The Sun's surface to The Earth
that first steps are the hardest,
that the fight that you fight within is the fiercest
that most of the time you can never know enough
and sometimes enough is never enough