“ठरक” by Sreshtha Sen

Issue 24 / Winter 2021 / Special Issue: Pleasure

When no one was looking, you hid
a mango in my mouth, green with growth.

Overnight, it ripened into a sunset. Like
you, it begged to be swallowed whole.

You’d asked me to save you
a sliced share, I know, but I couldn’t. I just kept

pulping, my cheeks plump with juiced drool.
Teeth never tore into such tenderness: shreds

& smears & skin—I ate them too as afterthought.
In me, this seed folded into stomach, I watched

& watered it myself: gut swimming in salt, in soil—
my body: once a drought then a harvest unto itself.

Now, I sleep with leaves as lungs, carve
hunger from bark, & let bees steal starch.

Now I plant myself. Now, I birth fruit upon
fruit upon fruit and no one ever stops me.

No one even tries.



Sreshtha Sen is a poet from Delhi and one of the founding editors of The Shoreline Review, an online journal for and by south Asian poets. They studied Literatures in English from Delhi University and completed their MFA at Sarah Lawrence College, New York. Their work can be found published or forthcoming in Apogee, bitch media, BOAAT, Hyperallergic, Hyphen Magazine, The Margins, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She was the 2017-18 readings/workshops fellow at Poets & Writers and currently teaches in Las Vegas where she’s finishing her PhD in poetry.

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