Letitia Jiju

A9C65703-62DB-4FE3-8824-3B86D3F6975DI like to write about a town I left several years ago, talk about how Emily Dickinson would wear white and capitalize her words and why mental health is extremely important.

At other times, you can find me sipping overpriced coffee, listening to either Velvet Underground or Patti Smith and being fazed by a generation of writers that throws in cliches and enter keys like nobody’s business.

For social media/contact info:
My Instagram
My Email: letitiajiju@gmail.com

Edition XVIII

Untitled - by Lititia Jiju (Photo by Ismael Nieto)Photo credit: Ismael Nieto


By Letitia Jiju

My father sleeps here, beside me, in his seat,
and I watch him after I put my book down, in my window seat.
I imagine him to be dying, falling in his sleep,
his head hanging low, mellow, small. 

When you say death, I do not flinch.
The blood in my blue green veins do not stop
nor is my heart in my throat.
I have seen death.
I have felt its intangible monster,
the grip of its painted talons in my hair,
the stench of its moist breath –
and have cheated it,
lying, unfaithful wife, not noble quite;
then twice
and like the cat,
I have nine times to die. 

When you say death, I do not flinch.
I reach out, grab it by its tail
and fling it over my head,
over my aging mortal being,
over my bones,
over my ashes,
so it can travel back in time
to kill all of my wasted parts,
all of me,

When you say death, I do not flinch.
it grows a hunch every time.
it comes back, like an uninvited aunt,
and takes things away unasked for. 

When it crouches over me;
growing fog, moth spreading its cold wings,
I shall be ready.
I shall be full, wise and old
dying in my sleep,
not from the vulnerability of my youth,
but my contentment.
And I’ll burst open like a fig:
ripe; willing.

Edition XXI

Roots - by Letitia Jiju (Photo by Peter Hershey)Photo credit: Peter Hershey


By Letitia Jiju

Long before adolescence had bit into my flesh
and then gradually
over the years sank its teeth into my soul

           –  sly predator  –

I had a fondness for mangoes from Kottayam.
The kind that swayed in the dull moist wind
on a tree whose roots seemed ethereal.

My grandfather seemed to know exactly when
the mangoes were to break away from their
temporary attachments.
He could never make such premonitions
about his own children.
he often cites this as one of his failures
and even if he doesn’t articulate it,
I know this.
He would quickly climb a ladder,
pluck each wobbly young mango
one by one
and hand them to me.

My grandmother would peel their skin
slice them into cubes and feed me.
She’s partially deaf now,
the other part, she pretends most of it.
Her selective hearing is her disposition,
not from aging or peeling away mango skins
or her children.
She wears it like a cloak at nights,
walks the hallways,
a captive in her own home,
steals short-lived glances of her grandchildren asleep.

           –  the crickets can hear her  –

                   –  they always do  –

Silence has settled into this house
the way a dying moth rests its cold wings.
The mango tree was cut years after the moth had died.
I cannot look at my grandfather,
his hunched back, protruding belly
as if he stomachs his loss.

My grandmother’s mouth breaks into the saddest smile
and I pray that I ‘d never have to see it again.
Her detergent hands cup my face
and I smell the mangoes
and I hear the crickets
and I see the dying moth
and I wonder if my lineage is of inherited ghosts.

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