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Dear Mamma,

Who is this beautiful monster with

four lungs and two throats?

At daybreak its body splits in two, and

each half walks around separately

At moonrise the halves connect,

first at the fingers, then at the mouths

As the monster’s four legs start to entangle, I can’t say

where one half ends and the other begins

As they fuse, they rub and writhe, shudder and sweat, until

finally whole again, it sleeps in the dark, breathing

through four nostrils

Like you taught us, I incubate my kin in the hairy half of the monster for a few days, till he purges us

with syrups and steam,

but not before some of us are ferried on seas of sputum to its other, smoother half,

where we can continue our carnival,

making her sneeze, cough, spew and sniffle


Baby Bacterium, 2023

Ashwini is interested in the way microbes shape human lives. This passion bleeds into her poetry.

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Published in issue 5


Published in issue 5


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