Poetry

clothesline

devangana mishra clothesline poem

By Devangana Mishra

my grandma, not my nani, but my paternal side, my nonna, then my mother,

there was a thing they were weaved into seamlessly

the water cycle of an indian woman,

zig-zagged as if by construct into a metallic clothesline

a constant cycle of wear, wash, dry, wear, wash, dry

an only utility of clothes must be to be worn then saved for as long as they can

i pulled out my mother a million times from this water cycle of momentary joy,

a solitary demise, dried to be pruned for joy all over anew

my arms go weak now, when i look around i can’t tell

if my head is above water or has it been iron rodded

into this evergreen clothesline pinning women

to steel or crushing them to rot

i’ve known so closely this cycle since nonna’s time.


Devangana Mishra wandered and wondered before she even walked. Her wonder turned to words her words turned to stories about imagining a better world and her hope for a better world led to poetry- a way to remain silent in an overpopulated, loud world. Her curiosity about the human mind took her to New York to study autism and intellectual disabilities when she was 21- ever since then she’s been a globe trotter across countries working with quirky kids and putting her learnings out in the world. She moved to India in 2018 and now works at Aangan, an organization working in the child protection space. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram

Photo by emreo from Pexels

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