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World foods have moved

to where the jam used to be

on isle six instead of four.

Split mung has split again

this time across the floor,

and the lid of a jar of mango pickle

is loose and mumbling

about liberation.


In the middle of this impending riot

Gita fingers a soft papaya

that she needs to make amends

for the wildness that is rising up

to ripen hard resolve.


Followed by an army of packets and tins

wearing parrots wings and pomegranate rings

she leads from the front with a shining trolly

whose wheels click to lick

the sweet n’ spicy rebellion—

then refuse to move in the right direction


like the Pied Piper of Pune

spinning in a carnival

of ginger and gooseberry ghosts.

But this was now the free world

with free trade

in the free lane.

Getting lost

was just another way

to be found.

*Published in Under the Radar, Feb 2023.

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