Listen to Nitica read her poems:
Aaji / between my fascia hides grief
I get homesick for places I’ve never been.
Space between grandfather’s fingers caressing grandmother’s forehead. Space between her thoughts as she lay unable to move her limbs. Space between his love and ground pills, poured into her wanting mouth. Space between mother’s VHS camcorder capturing life reeling away and the quiet hours he spent under an angry sun building cement pots.
I get homesick for places I could have been but wasn’t.
Space between her frozen facial expressions and her laughter—which I inherited. Space between falling body and wet ground, changing everything. Space between Bhandara where she lay amongst kin and Nagpur where I waited, unaware of morality or death. Space between her smiling eyes gently fading. Space between life and death—and death.
I get homesick for places that disappeared before I was born.
Space between grandfather’s pen and the curves of a poem drifting on a sheet of paper. Space between grandmother’s hands and the skin of a brinjal. Space between a swinging ladle and the aroma of smoked bharit. Space between her arms holding me and her eyes meeting mine.
I get homesick for places I have already been.
Space between mother and father laying in bed. Space between mother’s quiet tears I swallowed and their embrace. Space between the earth beneath my feet in Bhandara and a storm effervescing within my heart. Space between the clear blue sky and thunder. Space between stillness and tears kissing the ground.
Did you / a contrapuntal poem
look within listen to your heart beat
feel pauses rhythm lives within you
in breath language made from
the sheet music letters and spaces
adorned with rest did you pause to notice
did you pause to listen to gaze at slanted sun
cradled on the wall the sarso crackling
to welcome dandelions swaying in the wind
did you waltz pause every two beats
did you dream today listen to your heart
smell the coffee pause before
you sipped take a moment