Looking at Maman,
Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal
I am looking at a giant spider on my laptop screen—posing
like an agent in sci-fi movies destructing American cities.
30-feet legs stand tall over parks, bridges, towers, cathedrals
in New York, São Paulo, Ostend, Bilbao, Arkansas, etcetera.
The nylon tights stop the spider eggs to slip down.
The cell underneath it congregates objects that act as harbingers
of a life well-lived—antique tapestries, hollowed bones, old Shalimar
perfume bottles. The ground underneath is left empty—
Maman requiring only a little patch of land
because her children will always need much more.
I try to invent a scent that is as leathery as it is rubbery
like asphalt on fire. I want to know
what the maternal love of a spider smells like.
after Louise Bourgeoise’s sculpture Maman
SUPRIYA KAUR DHALIWAL was born in Palampur, India. She was the 2021 Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow at the University of Kent, and her debut collection The Yak Dilemma is out now with Makina Books, London.
Photograph by Naihan Nath.