Kunjana Parashar: Mahseer


mahseer of Kaveri basin / fierce silver-orange moon of the river /

your body is a soft-scaled / tapering knife / mahseer, were you

not one of the dashavatars / imagining this cosmos into creation like

Matsya’s zoomorphic descendant / the burnt gold of your caudal fin /

is god’s own aashirwaad / but when they blast your fish-skin / does it

hurt to thrash about / to be someone’s sport / a foreign dynamite /

stunning endemic carp-bodies / rupturing the fabric of your ancestral

homeland / a freshwater Anthropocene / – dear hump-backed cyprinid,

o shy barbel-mouthed giant / may you reclaim what’s yours / tathaastu.

Note: Among other threats, dynamite fishing is detrimental to the critically endangered species of hump-backed mahseer endemic to the Western Ghats, found chiefly in the Kaveri river-basin.

Kunjana Parashar is a poet living in Mumbai. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in UCity Review, Borderlands, Dovecote, Okay Donkey, Homology Lit, and elsewhere. You can find her on Twitter @wolfwasp.

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