is the author of How I Became a Tree, published in February 2017. Her first novel, Missing, was published in April 2018. Her poems and essays have appeared in Granta, Guernica, LARB and other journals. She lives in Siliguri in India.

For an ant this is a cathedral.
It’s being treated as a pariah.
It waits for a sound –
religion is about overhearing.

The ant wants entry.

Roots are comic, like religion.
Everything invisible is comic –
light, love, vapour, god, ghost.
And roots, hidden, like breath.

The confidence of soil,
the openness of water,
the stubbornness of pebbles.
These the ant knows.
But all old knowledge is useless –
it only lights the street, not the house.

The ant wants entry.

The sweetness of light, its seeds
and scales, gives the soil chronology.
For anything outside light has nothing,
no skin, no appetite, and no history.

The ant wants entry.

How well the roots fit into the soil –
space as well-utilised as in a hotel room.
Its tightness, without excess, like a sentence.
There’s no centre, as if it were oil.

The ant wants entry.

Death violates us, exposes orifices.
Roots shrivel, the soil releases its prisoner.
Ants rush to occupy the slum.
Converts, they treat roots as outcasts.

Back to your roots:
A new religion is born.

Image: Gustaf Broms makes images through performance and video, as a tool to explore the process of Being. This image from the video installation, ‘The Tree’, was an attempt to look at a civilisation in sync with the rhythm of  seasons. To see the human drama as cyclical movements, breathing in, breathing out.


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