in japanese aki can mean autumn, or
empty, or tiredness. this season is
a mouth pried open, its palms
dry like pumpkin forgotten
in the refrigerator, eyes
chestnut brown and wide
in anticipation. i run
barefoot over a ground
carpeted with leaves, emptied of itself.
i must carry on, past fall, hands pressed
together in some prayer that will not
be sacrificed to language. i must
remember to find the pumpkin
once i am back, and to be patient
as it simmers in soy.
aki is a lifelong lament, a body
big & bright with burning feet
having outrun itself.
Swastika Jajoo is a queer poet currently studying theoretical linguistics in Japan. She won the second prize in the poetry contest organized as part of the international Glass House Poetry Festival in July 2020. She has been published with Riggwelter, Muse India, and The Huffington Post, among others, and her spoken word pieces have been featured on UnErase Poetry, one of India’s leading spoken word content producers. In April 2019, she gave a TEDx talk featuring poetry at her university. Her work is upcoming in Capsule Stories in December 2020 and in an anthology by Airplane Poetry Movement in 2021. She was also invited to perform with Rolling Stone India for Pride Month 2020.