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2 poems by Kaavya Ranjith

Art by Hanno Karlhuber

for papa

i am my father:

my patience knows no bounds

until it does

i am my father:

bones, appetite, temper

i am my father:

eyes like honey, heart like armour

i am my father:

who hated his father

i am my father:

language without the words

i am my father:

calls once a month

says ‘where’ve you been’

means ‘i was starting to worry’

says ‘do you need any money’

means ‘i’ll always take care of you’

says ‘okay, i’ll leave you to it’

means ‘i love you. call me.’

all my friends are poets

my friends, they write like lace.

one word woven into another -

like streaks of butter rolling off their

tongues - they make me drool.

my friends, they speak in dances.

tangoed whispers, pirouetting

sentences, a grand concert in

the answer to a simple question.

me i have two left feet.

me i write in fevers

rash careless sweating through the night

forgetful of pauses and oblivious

of my place in the


me when i write every decent family’s

dinner table goes quiet

me when i write His hands get clammy

me when i write i am about as

graceful as the bloated bitch in the neighbourhood. looking for scraps.

but like her i am a stranger to shame.

just a writer rummaging for food in the dark.

Kaav Ranj is a poet, artist and educator of small beings. Her work has been published by the University of Pittsburgh, Cornell University, and more. She currently runs Createit, a platform promoting creative education among children and adults alike. Her work can be found on Instagram @kvrnj.  


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