Along the mud seam of the pond, our friend Babua and my sister Tombur
are lining up the fish bones. A fistful of earth inside my left palm, a fistful
of salt in my right: I am counting the silver glint of the dead. Three hundred
and fifty, and we know these fish are just like us: refugees. Family trees
with dug up roots, torn and burnt. Inside my ears, the sound of water
rippling in the crevices of the mangrove. The swollen belly of the koi,
the shadows of the late evening sun on my sister’s brows, Babua’s
chisel-sharp fingers. In between the moss and the duckling’s feather,
the broken pieces of wine bottles—a bloated green, impossible
in nature. Our older cousins had dared us to break those glass-shards open.
Nandini Dhar is the author of the chapbook Lullabies Are Barbed Wire Nations (Two of Cups Press, 2015). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Chattahoochee Review, Grist, Tusculum Review, West Branch, New South, and elsewhere. She is the co-editor of the journal Elsewhere. She hails from Kolkata, India, and divides her time between her hometown and Miami, Florida, where she works as an Assistant Professor of English at Florida International University.