this much I retain


this much I retain


a smugness of tongue
pores augmented to
particular frictions
of phrase
resonant taut
frenulum linguae:
my fine flesh spine
rooted bottom-mouth, is
finessed in tricks of
banana-fruit custom.

Unearthed twice,
seeds of heritage soil
were vacuum-packed and
to ensure ease
of naturalisation.

Despite the sojourn through
the Singlish ‘lah’
ruby saplings
harvested from my mouth
carry globules of
Dravidian authenticity.
Thamizh ponn

the hard edge of the ‘L’
should subsume into
curl instinctive
against the palate like
beetle-nut leaves or
Hubba Bubba.

The double-N
‘girl’ sounds softly
but deep
like the goodness of
it is imbibed
with assurance.

I enunciate
with perfection
as though
sweaty backs are
being slapped
concrete verandas
cooling and
good young girls
combing afternoon oils
into auspicious brows.

(You speak so well)

I wax naïve,
oblivious to the
philosophical peaks
and credos
contemplative in
the insinuations
of a language
born of sages
now kept
in store-bought pots

beneath the mantle,
contained for private adoring,
my sea-locked tone
is strung fraught
in tight swallows

it remains thus,

rooted-bottom mouth
and disguised
in tricks, of
resonant taut
frenulum linguae
the fine flesh spine

this much I retain

Nithya Iyer

Author: Nithya Iyer

Nithya Iyer is a Melbourne-based writer and performer of Indian-descent. Her work regards experimental and experiential arts practices in self-inquiry and connection to the Other. She has performed in experimental, roving and choreographed works in festivals and events across Victoria and New South Wales. Nithya has a background in Bharatanatayam from the Chandrabhanu Bharatalaya Academy and is currently studying a Masters of Therapeutic Arts Practice at the Melbourne Institute of Experiential and Creative Art Therapy.