Chemistry

Chemistry
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Picture Credits: Feliciano Moya López

Boy has brown eyes, brown hair, and a two-piece green-white pencil box with a hinge on one end. If you hold the outer bit at the hinge end, you can swing the inner bit out all the way. You could never lose just one bit and have to explain why. It’s cool. 

Boy has a brown voice too, but with golden spangles that pop up at random. You don’t see them coming, and suddenly they’re there. My brother says it sounds like the lab test for lead. Plumbum. 

Boy catches flies. Mosquitoes. Bugs. Spiders. A grasshopper one time.

Boy takes out his pens, pencils, eraser, sharpener, 6” ruler — lays them out on the desk. Tears out a sheet of notepaper, folds it in half lengthwise, and then once again. Places it inside the pencil box, tucks the edges. Places the day’s catch inside. Swings the lid closed. 

In his plumbous (valency two), sometimes plumbic (valency four), voice, Boy offers it to me: innu njaan naale nee. My turn today, and tomorrow, yours. I see this written on the sides of hearses sometimes. 

I give Boy my antelope tooth, but that is another story.

Kanya Kanchana

About Kanya Kanchana

Kanya Kanchana is a poet, writer, and translator from India. Her writing has appeared in POETRY, Anomaly, Asymptote, TrinityJoLT, Paper Darts, and The Common. Her translations have appeared in Exchanges, Asymptote, Waxwing, Circumference, Aldus, and Muse India. Her poetry was shortlisted for the 2019 Disquiet Prize and awarded a 2018 baseCollective Residency Scholarship.

Kanya Kanchana is a poet, writer, and translator from India. Her writing has appeared in POETRY, Anomaly, Asymptote, TrinityJoLT, Paper Darts, and The Common. Her translations have appeared in Exchanges, Asymptote, Waxwing, Circumference, Aldus, and Muse India. Her poetry was shortlisted for the 2019 Disquiet Prize and awarded a 2018 baseCollective Residency Scholarship.

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