The Naming of Things

Call the girl asleep on the bench an avalanche:
swiftness is not her calling, but she will forgo stillness
to become the eel in his big glass world, otherwise known as a jar.
Call the boy on the terrace an insect. His thoughts, minuteness.
Call him Yashpal, Surinder, Joseph, Millipede. Don’t
call it to his face, or his million legs will crumble. Call that love
Call this century a fortress. The girl and the boy waking
to the oddness of brevity every day. Call their year a
novel, but say it lightly. Call it a novella, then.
When they step out into the city, call it a brothel. Call
them like their mothers; call them “cacophony” and
“dissidence” and they won’t know what you’re talking
about. Call that love, again. Call this narrative
a momo. Steamed. They’ll eat it for lunch, and step out
into a riot. Call it drama, and they will meditate through it.
Call this violence victimhood. Call academia buggery.
Call poetry trivialising loss, and
don’t go back to the beginning. 

– Deepika Arwind, published in The Caravan, October 2011