i am searching for home

i have been searching for home
i came close to finding it as a child
when i saw my mother put on a sari
i could see her bare stomach which
at one point had been where i took up
all the space that i wanted in this world
there were remnants of my time there in
the form of marks growing up like roots
i lay in her lap and was home for a while
i looked up from there at her waist expanding
after she birthed me, almost edging to form a
stretch mark riddled galaxy with infinite stars

i have been searching for home
i came close when i tried placing my
grandmother’s bindi between her eyebrows
i could not count the wrinkles on her forehead
like clouds in the sky during kalbaisakhi every year
after trying very hard to place it correctly she told me
that it was okay to have it a little titled like the moon
which hangs obliquely lighting the darkest of nights
sometimes when she forgets to wear it i can feel an
emptiness edging to consume her whole like that of
outer space which is accustomed to swallowing lives

i have been searching for home
i came close when i saw the alta lining
my art teacher’s feet, she left her hometown
to come all the way to the city awaiting her
with its jaws unhinged to guzzle all hope,
all art she wanted to share when she was young
her feet were red like hibiscus, as if she had walked
through gardens and some thorns had pricked her
the wounds had healed but the scars were prominent
making her stand taller than all the skyscrapers
the ones that made her feel endlessly distant
from the home she had left behind in rebellion

i have been searching for home
and i have come close to home
when i wear my mother’s polki earrings
even though i cannot drape a sari
when i place the bindi correctly
on my own forehead and feel an
emptiness drain out of me
when i put alta every pujo and feel
the soles of my feet unwinding
coursing with blood as the alta dries
urging me to keep going


i don’t think i want this search to end



the steps, not worry if i am lost instead i have to ask for directions.
But this time, i have to travel back, trace



                           It was only in the         if one breaks, start over
                              second grade              made of the same thread
                          that i had lost                    born from stubborn knots
                       a pink dupatta                         set in beautiful patterns
                         of bandhani                              one riddled with magenta dots
                  unaware of its                                    when i told her wanted to wear
          significance during                                          like those in mother’s eyes
       school play practice                                                to form illuminated rings
   my role wasn’t great                                                      being dyed and painted
           i told my mother                                                 like expanding blackholes
       she was disheartened                                            cared to undo themselves
         later in the tenth grade                                     my mind that had not
               i saw bandhani again                               knots like those in
                 in a topography sheet                         it was made after tying
                  of my hometown Ajmer                  dots in the middle
                   the little settlements and            with and without
                    wells, scattered, in ribbons,     in clusters,


Key: begin at It
Then follow North, west, south, east...

About The Author

Paridhi Poddar (she/her) hailing from Kolkata, India believes that words begin to form deltas here, carefully silting into poetry and, sometimes she manages to collect a verse or two. Her work has previously appeared in the Verse of Silence, Gulmohur Quarterly, Zine for Her and elsewhere.