Home Schooled

By Baisali Chatterjee Dutt

Home Schooled

I eat a new word
for breakfast. 

You butter the newspaper
and down it with a cup of sugarless tea
leaving behind crumbs on the chair. 
After you leave,
I regurgitate my newly acquired set of letters,
spit them out,
and let them bounce off the walls. 
Some settle on my broom-wielding hand
like henna
so I softly trace their beauty
like a baby’s sleeping face. 
I revel in their temporary freedom
and pound the floor
with my bare fists
and elegies. 

When you’re back,
I swallow them whole,
caging them as before,
allowing you to believe that 
Right away
and Thank you
are the sum total of my vocabulary. 

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt is a domesticated nomad who writes, edits, dabbles in theatre and teaches. Her poetry has been published in various anthologies and magazines, print as well as online.