Posthumus Susan by Mandira Pattnaik

When I visit my sister in Summer, she says she wants to be the farmer who tills rapeseed, the crow that flies low over him, says she wants to be the woman like a deer. Adrift at night, a flight so high to the moon, then back again dawning on tinted clouds that shower down on rainbow days. I draw silence like a pack of cards, one for each of her sayings, the lengths of cones. Thanking the stars on the roof we climbed as children, the iron ladder, the sails softened on a distant boat, the concrete pillar on which rested a weary fisherman’s head, I think of trees and boughs, skirts that took to the breeze, ballerina shoes that left marks like deer’s feet. Because Susan is a cousin, I live in fear. I listen to her, flinching here and there, positive I can hear the dull hiss of the snake nearby, lest it takes another, again.

Biography: Mandira Pattnaik is a fiction writer, poet and essayist. Visit her at