Ode to Ilford

by Karishma Sangtani

 

In breathless evening traffic,
I press my forehead against the window, while
Durga Sweets and Ambala
tease my tongue through the glass.
Amidst pollution there is promise
of KP Choc Dips and
sips of room temperature mango Frooti
before the rebrand.

These streets are sewn together
with the loose threads of salwar kameezes.
Concrete hums
in liquid Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati.
A hundred other dialects
rest in the ridges of collarbones and
slang cuts slick, butter-smooth.

I beg in all the languages I know
for you to resist mouth-swabs,
to quietly blot
the hot acidity of ‘up and coming’.
In breathless evening traffic,
I press my forehead against the window and wonder
if you’ve ever been written an ode.

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KARISHMA SANGTANI

Karishma is a poet based in London and Durham. As well as performing regularly at open mic nights, she has performed as a feature poet at the Durham For Refugees Festival and SLAM: an evening of live spoken word and music. When she is not writing, she is almost always reading either as procrastination from or for her undergraduate degree in English Literature at Durham University. She can be found on Instagram @karishmasangtani and on Facebook.