She wakes up one day and all of the tree trunks have fallen. Not even one (Na counted) is standing. There are bloody dips on the road where the fallen trunks lie, like the trees were shot in the dead of the night by Hunters, so Na stands inside one, her two feet slowly calcifying as the days pass, turning into veined boulders that grow and grow. No Hunters come but it sometimes snows, sharp-cornered hexagonal prisms hitting flesh and leaving undulating gashes that glisten like moving maps, and Na’s hands turn turquoise and then the grey of humidified salt, but Na doesn’t move. Her hair slowly starts to fall out, icy chunks of black and slate hitting the earth with such glittering desolation that Na’s eyes start to water, only it comes out like acid snowflakes on her cheeks. Soon, Na’s nails will drop off, one by one, purple where untouched by the glitter varnish that Brother had stolen for Christmas from their upstairs landlord who smelled like the cigarettes he burned with. And when Na’s eyelashes begin tumbling, broken and threadlike, there will be an infinitesimal crack in the sky and all the cars that Na has protected from the Hunters will float up, metaled scarves of taffeta, and they will be grateful, for although there are no tree trunks upright anymore, Na’s two feet-boulders growing there will mean that the cars will still know to make the blind turn where the banyan used to stand and then maybe they won’t all die and then, and then, maybe they won’t meet Brother mid-crash after all and they won’t tell him that Na is already forgetting him, lips like cracked glass and dreaming of a world where the ice doesn’t taste like salt.
Radhika lives and writes in India and America, chasing rainy weather wherever she can find it. She is a lawyer by training and holds degrees from the National Law School, Bangalore, and Harvard Law School. Among her recent achievements is learning to love dogs, especially the large kind. Her work has appeared in Five on the Fifth Lit Mag, Bluepepper Poetry, New World Writing, and others.
© 2021, Radhika Kapoor