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Mangoes In Summer: Childhood

Slicing mangoes in summer  Is no mean feat. You need hardened patience You need to resist temptation So you tear off the peels with your teeth Sink them into the tender flesh Rise from the ashes with a yellow face Yellow, sun coloured, mango coloured.

There are people outside Some look feverish, unwieldy With slaughterhouse smiles A few have nice smiles, sweet, Tender, soft to the touch Like mangoes in the summer.

I lie on cool floors of an old house We used to visit faithfully twice a year And think: Monsoon is not the smell of yearning Or nostalgia or hope It’s everything in between The curved mango tree  Doesn’t speak anymore Its leaves don’t wiggle And twirl and flirt With the slivers of sun rays.

And think:  Why didn’t we evolve from birds? Our noses are like beaks anyway. Where does the- How many mangoes can I eat before tomorrow?

There are clouds above One shaped like a heart;  Another, a cow; a third, a mango. Does that one look like a waving hand? I don’t know. Thinking, sensing, picturing Bittersweet: a romance novel on a rainy day Cool: ducks splashing in water Tangy: sawing a raw mango apart with a ruler after a morning jog, an old newspaper envelope holding chili powder and salt.

I have my writing trousers on, for inspiration, With its flecks of paint: blue on green But I don’t paint So the blue is whispered encouragement and the green is the self. There is also a yellow speckle. Yellow, sun coloured, smile coloured? Mango coloured.

It’s a hot day But the sweltering heat is not hot Only glares are A cap is no shield there Sweat is no sweet relief It’s a sign of weakness Tomorrow’s face will look different Store bought mangoes will taste different Going back in to eat Curd rice and pickle: Mango pickle.

by Navya Iyer Kannan

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