she has inherited her father’s cracking bones and
her mother’s dimple
stands in front of the mirror,
Ma’s green dupatta resting against her chest, and
It is 1988 all over again.
It is
her mother with crisp hair and a raised eyebrow, her
father with a stuttering mouth and doe eyes, it is
a friend’s wedding, the
scent of milk sweets and crushed flowers in the curtains.
She writes with her left hand, the
charcoal indentations on her arm shaped like
her thatha’s battle wounds, sometimes,
you can
hear the whirring of fighter-planes in her left wrist, she
carries her older brother’s laugh in her belly, his
tee shirt on her back, she can
fit into the same spaces her mother can,
her body has been taught to accommodate. She lets herself
bloom at night, body unravelling, only cicadas to keep her company.
You can
still hear her grandmother’s poetry in her collarbone and when she
sings, her aunt’s
croaky tenor seeps out. If you
look closely, the
tendons on her neck resemble the patterned vines creeping up their Chennai home and on
rainy days, she can hear
little girls playing whispered games in the courtyard, empty,
when she rushes towards the sound, with only
traces of laughter left to peep out of
sepia photographs.
trees still bend down to kiss her face,
mistaking her silhouette for her grandmother’s and she
still gets lost in the ridges of her body, trying to find out which parts came from where because
it is not easy to trace lineage, she has tried, time and again,
palmistry and cartography merging until she
cannot tell the difference between her hand and a map but
it is even harder to unpeel the lineage you do not want to carry, to
undo the brashness under the voices of the men of the house,
reclaim all the space that was left untouched by the little girls in the courtyard, to
forgive the mistakes of your loved ones, but she is
learning, she is
intertwining her fingers with the branches of her family tree, yet
allowing her wings to unfurl around the monsoon breeze, this is
the unmaking of a legacy, yet
the remembering of a legacy, this is
a reconstruction, this is
a re-learning,
this is
come home,
this is

Nidhi Krishna

Nidhi Krishna is a 17 year old aspiring poet, writer and pun connoisseur from Pune, India. She has had her work published in Brown Girl Magazine and MadSwirl Poetry forum. Besides being passionate about reading and perusing last week's politics, she is also a baby animal enthusiast.