On Childhood – Sambhavi Dwivedi

This was before we grew into our limbs, our
bodies bloated with the swelling anxieties of
adulthood, back when I still remembered it
all, the archways in my grandmother’s house
where plants grew and curled around pillars,
tightly stretched out like coiling static wire,
sunlight bouncing off the deep orange walls
adorned with prismatic abstract paintings,
and the cream-colored marble flooring in
the veranda. The sun beat down on your skin
like a sign from God, your body deeply tanned,
glistening with a sheen of sweat as you helped
your father crush the tamarind fruit into a pulp
before glazing fried potatoes with yogurt and
chutney, your fingers tinged red from the chili
powder. You would take me on bike rides down
the rock-ribbed dirt path, our clothes becoming
stained with sand-lime and burnt clay. We ate
guavas on the terrace, its juice dribbling down
our chins, and used the smooth, green peels
to write our names on the walls. Under the street
lights, I read the yellowed pages of children’s
classics while you stared at the drawings in the
comics I bought you, our small bodies leaning
into a secret language of love. Even now,
lifetimes apart, I am always reaching for your
hand while I watch fate unspool us like thread.

Sambhavi Dwivedi

Sambhavi Dwivedi is a writer and student at Rutgers University—New Brunswick studying English literature and creative writing. Her poetry appears in The Westchester Review, and her criticism appears in Words Without Borders. She reads fiction for Guernica magazine.

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