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“The cure for most things,” “Pamplemousse,” and “Your Succulents And Other Reasons To Stay”

by Thanisha Santhosh

“The cure for most things”

While trying to find a cure for AIDS,

scientists in the Mayo clinic created 

glow-in-the-dark cats

-imagine a whole family made bioluminescent-

mother cat, father cat and a limpid litter 

of orange bellied critters retracting their claws.

Strange, sagacious animals 

with their soft downy pearl pink ears 

and indifference for human affection. 

The flabbergasted biologists, with no cure in sight

for their virulent pathogen, at least shared

a chuckle.

There are such things as happy accidents, 

the last time Lichtenstein went to war  

the cavalry returned with 81 people 

even though only 80 had been drafted out, 

the reason was one of the more gregarious soldiers- a polyglot,

who had happened to make a new friend

and sometimes from garbage and human faeces cornflowers tend to grow 

and turn their anthers towards the sun.

You must allow the world to open itself to you, 

without such a thing as shame 

or consequence; 

when the earth laughs it is always a rumble

and always it comes from the root of it’s belly

you must allow to be turned like a spinning top, on your head

sometimes it is what the world does, 

you must allow for awe 

and for the sprightly head of surprise 

to come-a-popping , 

even in the face of great adversity, 

like gophers from holes in the ground. 

There are such things as happy accidents 

and tell me has there ever been a day 

where the dark has lasted beyond daybreak because

just when you seem to lose all footing, when you can no longer

keep your head above water 

the fugue will clear 

and a glow-in-the-dark cat may appear, 

then another, then another, 

those slinky multicoloured motherfuckers, 

their long, pointy tails curved upwards 

sometimes in the shape of a lonesome comma

at other times calmly beckoning 

the sun 


Like most conscientious writers when wounded 

I never cry in front of company, 

preferring to save all the lugubrious lamenting 

for when I’m in private. 

If you have ever tasted sadness you will know that it is savoury

and selfishly I must stash it away to relish at home 

like a juicy plate of plump pamplemousse. Really

I have no choice. 

Afterwards and as a result, poems 

are gently pinched out like molluscs 

from my tear ducts, 

others crawl out, after much pleading, 

like pinworms 

from the darker dark within the lighter dark.

Still others have to be smoked out like foxes 

from their cosy homes in the snow 

or dragged vehemently by their tails-

long poems, fat poems, astringent poems

and woolly ones, 

some poems with the words half chewed 

as if by a camp of purple bats. 

It is only then that I am left clear eyed, 

the familiar choke threatening my throat dissolved, 

the poem serving as a sort of betadine 

over soiled wound and the words themselves 

with a mind of their own, 

congealing first into a scab then cicatrix. 

New skin will take root, sweet potato tuber 

and all that has nettled, rattled or moved me 

would have been written out to the breeze 

to take where it pleases. 

Private sadness comes in many states – grief, guilt, envy, defeat,

but in the form of prose it no longer belongs just to me

leaving me many kilos younger, many years 

lighter. In poetry, 

there is no ownership- 

the poem as much the property 

of the one that writes as of the one 

that consumes,

one a medium for the river, the other 

the foaming sea itself 

each one, upon contact, 

made anew.

“Your Succulents And Other Reasons To Stay”

Even if you were to close your eyes for good tonight,

there will still be a pink quartz moon in the sky-

pale and opaline.

there will still be luminescence – bright or borrowed.

Seasons will still drop by in sequence

as if plummeting from parachutes,

identified by the change in foliage,

the bear’s blind sleep,

men and women will still work 8 hour jobs,

heat leftovers for dinner, lie and cheat,

polish their shoes, bathe their children, 

make love

the humpback whale will stick to its yearly migratory route,

traversing 4000 miles between the poles and the Pacific, 

the wildebeests on the other hand will cross the Mara river,

in their long and arduous journey from the Serengiti,

the Chinook winds won’t change direction

and the tidal waves will turn,

unscathed by misery, lament, woe

no one will remember to water your succulents

after the first month, so they will die-

first the jade plant then the aloe,

your father will still sit in debt and your mother

in stone faced silence,

your neighbour will still be trapped 

in a lacklustre marriage

the sun will rise tomorrow, 

like egg yolk dappling a cotton canvas, 

just as searing, regardless of whether you do

the Atlantic will be the same shade 

of Carolina blue

and you’ll still be gone, won’t you

and will there ever be

another like you

From Bangalore, India, Thanisha Santhosh is a 22 year old POC poet that got to go to medical school. She dabbles in spoken word poetry although the written word will always have first claim over her heart. Her poetry explores themes of race, mental health, body image and the female form and pays homage to the myriad sounds and colors of the subcontinent.


Archive, The River

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