GIRL’S GUIDE TO WONDER

URVASHI BAHUGUNA

 
 

For teaching chickens to walk backwards
Flannery O’ Connor is one of my heroes.
 
Can you imagine those wide hips shimmying
backwards into pricklebush & water-trough?
 
Picture them on a beach watching their prints
appear like a tapestry before them as they rock
 
the second half of a caramba. Even the waves
hang back open-mouthed in amazement
 
hesitating to erase this mysterious dance
of red crests perked up in pride.
 
Puck puck puck. Nobody’s calling them
cowards now. To the boy who told me
 
I think we have run out of things to talk
about. Bye,
you just didn’t have the imagination
 
to keep up with me. Since we last spoke,
I have four hundred and twenty two
 
daydreams to share. I consume a whale’s
portion of stories. We could never run out
 
of things to talk about. Just for you to say back.
How dry the bowl of your skull must feel.
 
I am told it is vulgar to let your mouth hang open.
Some pesky fly might mistake it for an invitation.
 
But I leave open my tiny window of teeth, eyes
round as rupees, as I walk backwards on the beach.

 
 

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