My first heartbreak was when Sampati, the vulture, cries at the sacrifice of his younger brother, Jatayu. How his old, weathered hook-beak makes a sighing sound like gurgling tonics of freshly-ground bird grief. I’ve heard hornbills die without their mates, as do sarus cranes – those beautiful grey bodies, their brilliant red irises, all losing colour. Once, a sparrow flew into our fan and landed in a pink tiffin box, filling it with death. Now when they rest on window bars, I shoo them away, like old aunts spit thoo-thoo when shielding you from evil-eye, especially their own. Thoo-thoo, dear birds, don’t enter my house of possible sorrows.
Kunjana Parashar is a poet from Mumbai with an MA in English Literature from Mumbai University. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in The Hellebore, Barren Magazine, The Rumpus (ENOUGH series), UCity Review, and elsewhere.