mid-june and i arrive, crab-footed. claws for palms, eyelids bulging outwards. in the dank lamplight of the operation theatre two footfalls and a pinecone’s width from my childhood home, i take form. three women encircle me, their feet plunged into stockinged velvet, wrists glistening. they tell me i came with the rain. how i held two fingers to my chest and shuddered open noah’s ark, made a vessel stay afloat in the undertow. how i caught a flurry at seventeen, bound my wrists to this primordial overlord. how saplings blossomed from my synapses. how i carved divinity from a summer trailing in alchemy.
i do not arrive with the spring, like crocuses leaping forth from my belly, or a dozen water lilies before a nymph turns them to stone, biting at the river’s edge. but like rain. like sleet. like torrent. like thunderstorm. adolescence suspended in rigor mortis, acid rain tearing itself out of the stormclouds, trembling for a heated moment. precipitation in exodus. the second time i see rain, it is unsoftened. clinging to bone, harsh, a jaw slacked open for the world to see. they crowned me a child weaned on asphalt, grown up on the backbite of my own tears. in this poem, i am my own worst enemy.
they tell me how every season has an interlude. time stoppered, cork in a glass bottle and washed up on a dead man’s shore. for these moments, a lark loses its tongue, a songbird breaks her song to a gale. a girl trades her mortality for purpose. the path to a storm begins in serenity- then a slip, in which i lose my gaiety, grab fistfuls of rhye and soak my limbs in the seven seas. i think of disappearing like a sandbank, a pearl caught in its throat,
low tide, salt off bone. regrowth in a tidal wave. the flood, etched in an ending.
Anoushka Kumar (she/her) is a student and writer from India, with work forthcoming or published in the Eunoia Review, the Trouvaille Review, Ayaskala and elsewhere. She likes wood-panelled flooring and Phoebe Bridgers. Find her at anoushkakumar.carrd.co.