Guest Poem by Jayant Kashyap

Jayant Kashyap is the author of two pamphlets and he’s done several other things twice – he received an honourable mention in Atlanta Review’s Dan Veach Prize for Younger Poets in 2021 and ’23, was shortlisted for The Poetry Business New Poets Prize in 2021 and ’22, and was nominated for Sundress Publications’ Best of the Net in 2022 and ’23. His poems have appeared in POETRY, Magma, Poetry Wales and elsewhere, sometimes in twos or twice. This poem is from Acumen 108. Photo by Anshika Sarin.

Child as a Piano

During the ultrasound, it lies there,
dormant, like a landmine inside you.
Later, it erupts – a months-quiet volcano
of its own. Now the constant ticks,
the continuous whirring of me, me,
me, mommy, me
. A four-legged
sinister machine in the beginning,
advancing with growth, now it can
multitask – handle scissors before age,
snip your hare/hair carelessly, throw
styrofoam at the dog to feed, or feed
itself, spill water, urine, oil on the floor,
its generous slickiness. This small
machine of easy wear and tear,
easy blithering, breaking, bleeding,
becoming bone-hard, voluntary
but still the hum of mommy, me,
prized possession, precious substance,
jewel, gem, loved, loving learns melting,
waking under warmth.