national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014

Payasam

Anjana Krishnamurthy  • 
University of California, Berkeley

Javvarisi,
sweet pearls of
childhood, floating
in a sea of elaichi
milk, iridescent
jellyfish, dissolving
into starchy silk,
a white sari draped
on the tongue.

 

Javvarisi haunts,
burned skin like
a scattered galaxy
of sago across the
arm, buttons parting
breasts in a straight
row of soldiers,
the reflection
of an American moon
in a lover’s American
eyes, javvarisi haunts,
a cruel mistress,
but she will not
grace the plantain
leaf at this wedding.