The meaning of quiet—those corridors knew
it well. Softly girls. The building is old,
Mother C. lisped up stairs, her wimple
flaring like a halo. At table tennis, we twirled spins
like neat habits. A single smash could dismantle
our world. Outside school, a man with a cleft lip
spiced slices of raw mango. Red chilly
burst in our mouths like explosions of sea water.
The heat moved us to shower. We limp-
toed into womanhood in spotless socks,
a generation afraid of bringing things down.
A backyard of bramble and weed was where
we found noise. It wandered knock-kneed
and had a tongue full of pins.
Anindita Sengupta is the author of City of Water (Sahitya Akademi, 2010). She won the Muse India Young Writer award (2012) and the TFA Creative Writing Award (2008). Her work has appeared in journals such as One, Ouroboros Review, Mascara Literary Review, Eclectica, Nth Position, Pix Quarterly and Asian Cha and in several anthologies including The Harper Collins Book of English Poetry (Harper Collins, 2012), and The Yellow Nib Modern English Poetry by Indians (Queen’s University Belfast, 2012). She has read at national and international poetry festivals and been writer-in-residence at University of Kent on the Charles Wallace Fellowship. Her next book will be published by Paperwall in 2016.