By Namrata Pathak
That’s How Mirai Eats a Pomegranate
She sucks all the red within. The red of the pavements.
The red of the palaash. Slouching the seeds
on the leopard face of that hill, she takes in
a block of that bloody dawn
threading its fingers in torn terracotta:
scraps, bit by bit, knots, and absolute dominance –
all make the pomegranate a worldly affair.
As they say, it is a tough act indeed
not to mash the profanity in pale palms,
not to annoy the hexagons with a hungry mouth.
Leisurely she swipes away the flowered blobs on the skin.
Watch her do it. Taking ages to undo the snake-skin
falling in shreds of light and air
in shafts of leafy shadows,
heaped in an outlandish rejection
one after another, her hands and feet, eyes and fingers,
her body that you cannot touch otherwise,
becomes the pomegranate.
Boundary-breaking is all about eating a pomegranate.
It is a juicy rebellion after all. In a portfolio of
succulent half-truths, circular, the end being the beginning,
she becomes her own food.
She makes a way for some amount of peppery acoustics.
She has nothing else to do.
Visuals can never teach her what a pomegranate is. She knows it.
While she prepares to eat, she draws scowls,
pouts, finelines; creased, rubbery and almost breathing.
She sniffs the night in shades of a whisper.
All the while the pomegranate sleeps in a fleece of awakened needs.
The pomegranate flows in a half-litre blood;
each ounce a mouthful, a seizure.
She smashes its face in a violent revenge,
out of a downy boredom
she watches the river
fly away as a grey sparrow,
the roots crisscross into rows and flecks,
salt-touch melts away in nodes of the fruit,
the fingers wither too
in a cusp of eating and not eating.
Mirai takes a knife, splits open
a skull of wanton wastes.
Worms. A Hive.
“You rush to that dark, soft nowhere.
Do you hear the hills cry?
Do they sing of Nokmas and their half-woman?
Sea and mermaids?
These days she is hearing voices
she puts her hands on her ears at nights, dismembers
the voices are gone
silence is a forest of citations now
the distance of continents
between her eyes
stalks and stems in a busy ambush
in her ceiling
the concrete sprouts a thesaurus:
a cacophony of laburnums
leaves and mouths in the house
a collage of Rimbaud on the papyrus-skin
eating memories in the suburban tracts
is not fine
she has eaten them more than once
ivory-tales are rods holding her face
in a postmortem posture
not moving an inch
running in rhizome-directions
like second thoughts
the moon in multitudes
keeping in to a single anthurium branch
many moon-buds in a shaft sewn to the night
maps are thrown out with the poky stubs
in the Northern wind
as distance is spanned
from this edge to that edge
death becomes a mere shape-shifting and nothing else.
“You are tired of walking.
You are tired of watching.”
Perhaps he would
all the while in moments of cobblestoned footfalls
when coming down
in iron rails and oars
she cuts through the flags of the wind –
the splinters of mashed plum-lines
her body caked with mud, slime,
as holding the sun on her forehead
she becomes Bedouin.
“You, a country. I, a country.
We meet in absences, Bedouin.”
floats adrift between a day and a night
writing the sea and salt
on his face
she grows histories in grey coastlines
yet he does not know.
The absences a wet dough
of hands and fingers
running down in rivulets of sweat
in a lotus-corner of that shop
slices of time flower in that musk-smell
deft fingers repair radios and gramophones
distance melts the jagged line
Bedouin coagulates into triangles
grows bricks and geometry in NH-40
steeped in a genocide
of mangled flesh
she reaches out to the vacuum
seeping in, coming down
engorged as the laughing sand
in an hourglass.
Painting: John Singer Sargent
Namrata Pathak teaches in N.E.H.U., Tura Campus, Meghalaya. Her book, Trends in Contemporary Assamese Theatre (2015), maps the contours of experimental theatre in Assam and highlights the significance of dramatic representation, semiotics, visual culture and cross-disciplinary methodologies in the field of performance-making. Her writings have appeared in journals such as Aneekant: A Journal of Polysemic Thought, Muse India, North-East Review, Negotiations, etc. Currently, she is working on N.E.H.U-Women’s Writing Series, Writing from the Periphery: Women’s Writing in the North-East.
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