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Holding the Fingers of Water

by Karan Kapoor
22 March 2023

ma rubs asafoetida and ginger oil

on Dida’s mushroom belly


her voice a needle

on the record of an aarti


glorifying kali too busy collecting

skulls for her garland to listen


shiva unable to answer

amid the tandav


vishnu who sees water as far

as water exists except in us


she pours buttermilk

and tulsi into Dida’s mouth


where there were curses

now a lullaby


all their venom

lost in search


of a recipe to fix her weeping gut

when ma finds none


she resorts to humour

counts her flaws


a smile from Dida’s still

mouth of an annoyed lover


ma nurses her

like she nursed me


when I was a cloud

passing through her womb


Dida’s one swollen foot

in the grave


the other a stone

in ma’s clasp

About the Author

Karan Kapoor

Karan Kapoor is a poet. They have been awarded or placed for James Hearst Poetry Prize, Rattle Annual Prize, Ledbury Poetry Prize, Julia Darling Memorial Prize, Red Wheelbarrow Prize, John & Eileen Allman Prize for Poetry, Orison Anthology Award, and Literary Taxidermy Competition. Their manuscript ‘Portrait of the Alcoholic as a Father’ was a semi-finalist […]