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.