Poetry Festival will be held:

Saturday, April 27, 2024

2022 Winner

markets of india

i walk

my breath heavy

anchoring my legs into

dry, baked,


dirt paving boundless streets


the sun,

blindingly resounding

through palpable

heat echoing off my

tanned, blistered skin and

every tin shack


almost collapsed,

held together with clay and the sweat

of labor.

it reads “खुला 24/7” [open 24/7]

to the langurs falling from trees.


i keep walking

steering through murdered mangoes’ guts

strewn shamelessly on defaced soil.

broken rickshaws’

tires stained orange

like the setting sun

i hope for.


“coconut water! coconut water!”

i hear a seller announce, his voice echoing

in desperation.

my throat guides me to the stand.

“twenty rupees. twenty only.”

i hand him a bill.

he beheads the coconut


and i take it in my palms as it

bleeds onto my arms,


i open my mouth and feel a flood

of awakening revival.

my vision becomes clear.

i hear the clacking of cow hooves,

the ruffle of saris scraping the floor,

the jingle of bangles forever tied to wrists.

i remember i am in agra,

the markets of india,

and i am at ease.


Navin Desai

Georgetown Day School

Grade: 10