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My self sits in a little glass jar 

that I take down from its shelf 

every day to examine 

for bumps and nicks and cuts 

and bruises; I brush off the dust. 

In the light, it is a good enough self, 

if slightly skittish and slightly wary 

of my own inquiring gaze. 

It is serviceable enough to inhabit. 

Somedays I pet it and prod it 

and turn it this way and that 

wondering whether it matches 

up to other selves on other 


Today my self does not want to 

leave its jar and instead rolls 

listlessly around the glass base. 

Quietly, I watch it from outside.

Moringa Maram 

Ammuma brought the moringa maram from Palakkad to Delhi

 when she was a young bride, when it was a mere sapling. 

It grew, along with her two daughters, into a strong resilient tree

that braved Delhi’s winters and survived Delhi’s summers. 

It flourished in the rains. 

But Delhi is no longer the Delhi of her youth 

and just yesterday evening, the Garden Committee 

(along with the Security Committee) of the gated community

she’s lived in since the early years of her marriage 

decided to uproot the tree to make space for floodlights.

Ammuma shed a tear when she thought no one was looking.

But if it means safer streets for her daughters’ daughters, 

she’ll content herself with memories of the tree.

Meenakshi Nair is a third-generation Malayali from Delhi. She earned her MA in Comparative Literature from SOAS and her poetry has been published by nether Quarterly, VAYAVYA, and Porridge Magazine. Find her @meenusbookcase on Instagram.

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