FISHES, Tushar Jain

by Tushar Jain

Mr. Moshomoto, the renowned 
curator, felt the ulcer roil in the pit 
of his stomach, when the monsoons 
left, leaving in their wake, in his posh 
duplex, an infestation of fishes

there were carps in the mouse-holes, 
and grubby herrings choked all the 
shower drains, and the guppies [oh, 
the guppies!] scurried around, dragging 
squares of bread crusts under the dresser, 
or salted orange rinds over the duvet

there was a school of mackerel 
homed in the bumps under the rug, 
there were cuttlefish in the kitchen, 
lunging at the curtains, snapping 
at the trout that either clutched 
at the pleats of the Belgian drapes, 
or had wormed to the rose-pots, 
on the cherry-wood armoire

from a grey jar marked ‘Sugar’, 
a Japanese eel, Anguilla japonica, 
had reeled out banana skins, 
and dragged them to savour in 
Mr. Moto’s prized, [not to mention, 
leisurely] Origami vase

in the glass cabinet, behind the 
china, there were hamlets poised 
against an ornamental skull [“to 
barracuda or not to barracuda, that 
is the question!”], and at last, at the 
fireplace, piled in embers, ash, and 
cindery pinewood, a halibut kept 
gazing into the crisp orange 
screen of a summer fire

Mr. Moshomoto, rubbing his 
sore eyes, clawing the beads of 
moisture on his itching scalp, 
grimly admitted that his little 
India trip, so far, wasn’t 
exactly working out

Tushar Jain is an Indian poet, playwright, and author. He was the winner of the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize, 2012 and a winner of the Poetry with Prakriti Prize, 2013. Subsequently, he won the RL Poetry Award, 2014. He was a winner of the DWL Short Story Contest 2014 for his short story “A humiliating day for [Dr.] Balachander”. He won the Toto Funds the Arts Award for Creative Writing, 2016. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Antiserious, The Nervous Breakdown, RaedLeaf Poetry, Papercuts, streetcake magazine, The Sierra Nevada Review, The Young Ravens Literary Review and elsewhere.

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About barkingsycamores 183 Articles
Barking Sycamores is a literary journal entirely edited and operated by queer neurodivergent people of color. We publish poetry, artwork, short fiction (beginning with Issue 3), creative nonfiction (beginning with Issue 8), and hybrid genre work (beginning with Issue 9) by emerging and established neurodivergent writers as well as essays on neurodiversity and literature and book reviews (beginning with Issue 10).

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