Ayesha Chatterjee

Orange crush

After Kamala Das

The sweetest juice smells green.
That must be its dream of wilderness,
which it has never known, escaping
from the glass.

Like the colour blue, it was taught to exist.

A winter fruit. Not one I’d associate
with an April sun, but sugary and cool
and foreign.


I cannot smell life either.
Perhaps that is what we have in common.

Yesterday, I saw her in two forms
and did not recognise her.
Her darker, truer self was centred

but farther away and I was distracted
by the drums.

The moon and ginger

You grew up with it, this light.
It swelled with your bones,
your words radiating moonlight
as soon as you could utter sound.

You thought it ossified certainties:
a sickle red, thumbprints
inevitable. Even now

some days you can hold
the ginger notes in the background,
clearly, in darkness.

Etude in tuberose

We carried keys around for days,
weapons to ward off
hungry souls (they weren’t
iron and opened nothing
with their blunt teeth), while she filled
the house with her smooth,
waxy petals,
even after she had gone.


Born and raised in India, Ayesha Chatterjee is a poet who has lived in England, the USA and Germany, and now calls Toronto home