leavening

Armaan Bamzai

Bengaluru, India

The International School Bangalore

Poetry

I - butter

very well. I will tell you

about my second mother. I

will tell you about her landlocked

body & the white jewels pooling at

her bedside like spoilt milk. her blue

tantrums & electric smiles, honey I’m

just so exhausted you know? I know,

fourteen years of

living together is meant to have changed us,

eroded me & patted my soil into her body -

but no. No such thing, when i am an indulgence

she wishes she could quit, but no nicotine strips

or  10  months  sober  badges  can  rid  her of this.


II - yeast

what you need, my dear, is a good strong corset !ha

& I watch her mouth poison-darting, translate her

gingersnap & honey into a language I know. You had

a wooden dresser, didn’t you Mother, full of moth-eaten

coats & yesterday’s yesterdays. Naphtha balls reeking,

your pinked lips somewhere between mink coat & mink

coat. all i have inherited is a strange family, a parade of sly

widows, & she was the one he loved? your face is some

where here, I know, I just put it down. You on the seaside, or

on a cliff, in a shiny car speeding through an unknown highway


III - sugar

you were always too full of secrets. even when

your arm was more blood-drip than vein, you

told nothing. & your perfect blue nightgown

told nothing, & you told nothing. & from these

three nothings came me, or I, or the fire-ash urchin

or the short-lived beauty, or the heiress to the indigo

kingdom, palefooted & gone before you can say oh

all I can remember of you, dear, is your lack. It’s as if

my memory began only from the day you were gone. &

all those happy years he couldn’t shut up about were gone

& what was left was an open wound somewhere, and a child

motherless & fatherful clinging to your side. I wish you had a nick

name for me, a song you sang, a fairytale both of us knew by heart

but your voice, love, as a clock ticking backwards began to forget itself

and in my flesh I knew I would try and replace you with more mothers or

boys or clothes or sex. nothing changed. we went on planting the perennials


In her memory he said but i knew that wasn’t it

in my dreams you are made of dust or not made,

you are glass palace or thick air, old family heirloom;

guitar we hung on the wall and no longer play, pink heels

for Sunday bests that never come. your


caramel happening, your vanilla chest,

plumcake bodice & sugar tragedy. I make

a trail with your ash;

one that will mark the path to home.


EDITORIAL PRAISE

This is a beautiful piece that's both easy to read and spins scenes into vivid images. I love the recipe of the poem, which comes together in the last stanza to form a body, much like the words form the body of the poem.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Armaan Bamzai is a high school student at TISB (The International School Bangalore), in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. He will graduate in 2021 and hopes that he will one day create something worth looking at. He believes the world would be a far better place if more people read fairytales and lyrical poetry.