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Tears water the curry-leaf dragon
as waterfalls have done so for hundreds of generations,
dripping down its tail, soaking in
the soil of the wooden pot in which the creature dreams.

Its breath warms the crevices of my apartment
like sun-baked sand nestling around your feet
or a plate of biryani filling up your throat and
all the while I pluck away at its tail; tears falling and

perhaps that is why they keep me
and my people locked away from the jewels
of the city, only to feel fresh sunlight
when we construct their mansions and machines
that slice backwards to cut our legs
and wrench the tears from our glassy eyes.

A restaurant clad in ultramarine shine
along the seas that brought us to this country
receives the leaves picked from the tail of my dragon.
“Fresh this time?”
Smirks coated in sauces I’ve never tasted.
Plates of curry draped in patterns I’ve seen my mother wear.

Care not for what goes in “the curry”—
the restaurant’s undying speciality—
as diamonds melt over carefully spiced meat
or emeralds caramelize with onions at searing heats
or rubies chopped with tomatoes thrown in after
and gold dripping off the bone that stains your fingers.

You lick your lips.
They lick their teeth, and

perhaps that is why they came with dragons that birthed blazes,
shrinking our homes into enclosures,
cutting our minds with butcher knives
and contorting our beings into being not
what we want to be, like filthy hands
kneading dough under the cosmos.

The curry-leaf dragon’s strength is fading
and so bore no leaves for me to pluck.
Suren has been tending his oleander dragon,
with a tail as bright as the sun’s delicious radiance.
Hatred spat into its soil, it is poison
tended by poison that births poison, and

perhaps different tears should fall from eyes, and
perhaps our dreams have not drowned
but are only buried, waiting to be tended.
I shuddered as Suren’s lips dripped with hatred,
calling out that we were shattered into fragments,
but that they would never be able to take our dragons.



Ryan is an Indian-South African poet and filmmaker hailing from Johannesburg. He recently graduated with a BSc Hons in Geography and Environmental Sciences and is currently pursuing a Higher Certificate in Performing Arts. You can find links to his short films and his endless retweets on Twitter @RNaamdhew.
Current Issue
26 Sep 2022

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where oil slurped up out of the dirt, they drink the coffee
Science fiction is a genre that continues to struggle with its own colonialist history, of which many of its portrayals of extractivism are a part. Science fiction is also a genre that has a history of being socially progressive and conscious – these are both truths.
Bring my stones, my bones, back to me
If we are to accept that the extractive unconscious is latent, is everywhere, part of everything, but unseen and unspoken, and killing us in our waking lives, then science fiction constitutes its dreams.
they are quoting Darwish at the picket & i am finally breathing again
Waste is profoundly shaping and changing our society and our way of living. Our daily mundane world always treats waste as a hidden structure, together with its whole ecosystem, and places it beyond our sight, to maintain the glories of contemporary life. But unfortunately, some are advantaged by this, while others suffer.
Like this woman, I am carrying the world on my back.
So we’re talking about a violence that supplants the histories of people and things, scrubbing them clean so that they can fuel the oppressive and unequal status quo it sustains.
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