Arts Illustrated

And one for the little boy

By Ankita Anand

Arts Illustrated Poetry Contest, First Runner-up

My 5.5-springs-old friend tells me
He sees aliens inside me:
Not one, not two, but a school of thirty
Existing in yellow and orange.

He explains they're there to help me fly
When I feel like it,
Only at that moment I'll have to touch a flying object.
An airplane seat will do, he says.
But on second thoughts he shakes his head, no,
That won't work, it will have to be something else, a bird maybe,
A real flying creature.
I think about touching the spread of an eagle,
A kite,
I think of flying.

He laments that he doesn’t even have a pet.
Nothing that can be seen easily, at least,
But he says he does have a caterpillar that he keeps safe
And a snail, one that eats minced carrots and sleeps when you stroke him tentatively with a finger
At that he remembers it’s time to check on it, and comes back, satisfied – it’s fast asleep
Nobody knows if the caterpillar and snail are “for real”.
He tells his parents he has them both in his room,
They wonder if the aliens are from TV
But their living inside people, in yellow and orange?
Not so sure.

I am filing this away in any case
To show it to him when he is in doubt,
To remind him that he had believed,
And, so, I had too.

About Ankita Anand

Ankita Anand's writing has travelled through India, Pakistan, Singapore, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, the US and the UK. She is also a journalist, and her work has been supported and awarded by multiple fellowships and awards in India and outside. An archive of her publications can be found here: