Malvika Jolly


Moses Ojo

Dream Daughter in the Pomegranate Garden

Malvika Jolly

Speaking of portals, she has carved into her door
an orchard of flowering jacaranda trees; when she leaves
they keep blooming, blooming in her wake;
next emerges the gardener, white-haired,
having tended to them his whole life; of him
she knows a sparse handful of observations:
The art of seeding pomegranates in the Afghan style,
first slicing a small window into the crown
with a rounded knife like a pebble in his palm;
How, once the jacaranda have bloomed,
each day of his is spent suited
in golden-pollen, garlanded in sun-swollen petals,
saying hello and welcome please to everything yellow;
And how, when crossing the street one day,
catching sight of the man in the goldenrod jacket,
he bursts out: Good morning to you, my brother!
In her earliest childhood memory,
she is getting stung, again and again,
by a lost bee, and her grandfather is standing
with his hands on her shoulders, together
with the gardener, setting fire to the hive with a stick.
One day he opens his own palm,
and there we find the bee, still alive,
still asleep, and beneath that, her likeness,
among the vineyard’s tangled roots.

Malvika Jolly (b. 1993, Rouen) is a writer and literary translator. She has received fellowships and support from Dara Shikoh Literary Festival, Davis Projects for Peace, Threewalls, RAWI, and Poets & Writers. Her poetry, essays, and criticism are featured in Canthius, Chicago magazine, Frontier Poetry, The Indianapolis Review, Liminal Transit Review, MIZNA, Poetry Online, Salt Hill Journal, Voicemail Poems, and elsewhere. She was a finalist in BOMB magazine’s 2022 Poetry Contest, judged by Solmaz Sharif. She is a Summer 2022 Brooklyn Poets Fellow and a Senior Editor for Poetry Northwest. She curates the New Third World, a political reading series inspired by the Non-Aligned Movement.