if not apetalous, i am deciduous


i have a Family who have made me forget how to cry when I’m sad. my House—which i am
not sure is my home anymore—is full of sugary spicy scents and creaky floorboards. often i
walk into my Room—which i am not sure is my home anymore—and Things are Shifted
around: my books, my loves, have been placed in a different order, my blankets have been
switched around, rediscovered memorabilia have been framed on my wall and if i try shifting
these little things back to how I want them, if i can find them, my Mother cries. i love my
Mother. but She cries about how alone She is and since i can never or just don’t say
anything back, the silence on my end of the receiver resounds and then we just sit in Her

my Mother told me Her favourite flower was called Rajnigandha—which is not what the
flower is called in Spanish, Hawaiian, or any language from Mexico, the Philippines,
Indonesia, India, or Iran.

the flower, like the sky, changes colour at night. my Mother says Her favourite colour is black but preens in the light of a camera flash.

my Mother calls me “galliig hudugi” whenever i’m sarcastic. galli is Hindi for “rude,” and hudugi is Kannada for “girl.” even linguistically, Her Love for me is confused. i am her Bangara, a neighbourhood friend, a therapist, her Chandini.

i want to get jasmine flowers tattooed on my body so my Mother’s scent will never leave me, so i can always have the image of Her eyes sparkling as She attempts to tuck white flowers through the unruly curls She gave me even though they aren’t Hers. sometimes waking up in my childhood home feels like staring into direct sunlight. i think my Mother looks great, even if it’s too hard to open my eyes.


Akanksha Kalasabail is an undergraduate student in English, Astronomy, and Physics at Wesleyan University, USA.