My country is rough silk
My country is smooth spice
My country is black silver
My country is blue ice
My country is lotus temple
My country is golden mosque
My country is brick church
My country is glass synagogue
My country is tame elephant
My country is hungry tiger
My country is jumping monkey
My country is scuttling spider
My country is scented flower
My country is smelly dung
My country is ahimsa
My country is loaded gun

My country is
every manifestation
between a fiery red chili pepper
and your tongue
a peacock dancing against the setting sun

Artwork by Seema Kohli
Artwork by Seema Kohli

Excerpted with permission from Geography of Tongues, Shikha Malaviya, The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective.

This selection is curated by Rohini Kejriwal. She also curates The Alipore Post, a daily newsletter stemming from a love of​ art, poetry, music, and all things beautiful.