Even before the sun climbs over our head,
granny soils her clothes by kneeling
in the tilled earth with the dedication
of a mother nursing her just-born.
She says, it’s ‘birthing’ what plants need,
grow, they will on their own.
As she pats the soil over the mango kernel,
she tells me how when she was little,
she would do this all day, standing
in a field with water up to her childish
knees and push green blades of paddy
back into the earth. If she stood up
and looked around, she would see
the entire village in this same occupation,
her own mother bent in the water
with her sister strapped on her back
and father somewhere in the far distance,
his body so brown crows would mistake it
for wet mud. Later in the evening
when dinner was served, father would say,
looking at his brood of children, this.
This is happiness, just seeing you all eat.
Ashish Kumar Singh (he/him) is a queer poet from India with a Master’s degree in English Literature. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in The Bombay Literary Magazine, Chestnut Review, Fourteen Poems, Trampset, Lucky Jefferson, Banshee, Channel Magazine, and elsewhere. He serves as a poetry editor at Indigo Literary Journal, reads for ANMLY and is on Visual Verse’s editorial team.