Kimchi / Ardra Manasi

At the farmer’s market
the woman seller helped me
identify a new vegetable,
by speaking of familiar tastes —
“This is cabbage-y and lemon-y”—
as if to echo that universal truth:
we exist in relation to others. 
To prove her right,
I came home with Kimchi –
a jar of fermented vegetables,
oozing their earthy smells,
in a nameless communion,
devoid of You’s and I’s.

Ardra Manasi is a poet and a development practitioner. Her poems have been featured in
journals and anthologies in US, UK and India, including the Sahitya Akademi, Modern Literature,
Parentheses Journal, Silk and Smoke, The Palm Leaf, Narrow Road, Bengaluru Review, and
elsewhere. In 2020, her poems were part of an international online exhibition ‘IGNITE – From
Within the Confines,’ which brought together artists and poets to reflect on the COVID-19
pandemic. She works for the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at Rutgers
University and lives in New York City.

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