This poem is taken from Stand 223, 17(3) September - November 2019.

Rochelle Potkar Poem
The toys of Chitrakoot

From bhurkul to gular, mango, shisham, green bamboo,
slow-heated, drawing moisture off limbs
bodies passed through lime glue, bound with tamarind seed paste,
the toymaker traces features,
fine-stroking with hammer, filing paint, bringing dolls to life
under wigs.
He remembers his children, vacant-chested, sent back from school,
kitchen stoves clutching cooking pots with no food
– leaves of cacti
lacquering on lathe
colored by his expectant wife with alta and turmeric.
A brush from goat’s hair, clay, oil, lac, dye spread amid dreams
– rags, water colour, red sanders carving kingly elephants,
annihilating trains to build bridges,
bridges for aeroplanes, rattles,
horse carriages, to make new women.
As the rain chisels flatland, plastic bubbles from machines
            Chinese toys overcasting the market
                                                                                                 given to
sacrificing a child’s play of
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