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Withdrawal

By Aekta Khubchandani

You are a wild dog at Juhu Beach,
golden and waiting for the moon,
running, ears pulled back by the gush of wind.
You are the feeling of dirt in rain.

A half moon is still complete, bigger
by the Hudson waterfront. How much sky
is the river, how much is absorbed in a reflection.
You take two baths a day in your New York

apartment with Epsom salt and lavender oil.
The sun is a soaked walnut,
Far from apartments like yours, smoking
is your way to become the sky

or paper or whatever you please.
There are days that demand tenderness.
Your lungs are like spoiled weather;
rub your palms and cover your eyes;

sometimes the sickness is in how you see
things. Smoke, and you’re full of sweat
and haze, only washing hands
in cold water is real. You feel like fireworks

on a cold night in Manhattan.
You become an adjective for this feeling:
a fistful of water and forced forgiveness.
You don’t miss Bombay, you don’t want

to call home. A rain cloud wanders,
sparrows lie dead in the dim of night,
your feet stuck in sand,
ears still ringing with birdsong.

Painting: Luigi Paulini

Bio:
Aekta Khubchandani
is a writer and poet from Bombay. She is the founder of Poetry Plant Project, where she conducts month-long poetry workshops. She is currently matriculating her dual MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry & Nonfiction) from The New School in New York. She teaches Creative Writing to students of High School of Economics & Finance (HSEF) at WriteOn NYC. Her recent fiction “Love in Bengali Dialect”, winner of Pigeon Pages Fiction contest, is nominated for Best American Short Fiction anthology. Her poems were awarded the winner of honourable mention by the Paul Violi Prize. Her work is published in Passages North, Epiphany, Jaggery Lit, Vayavya, and elsewhere. She has performed spoken word poetry in India, Bhutan, and New York. She’s working on her first book of hybrid poems.

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For more stories, read Café Dissensus Everyday, the blog of Café Dissensus Magazine.

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