Ankita Saxena

poet, performer, workshop facilitator


Brother imagines himself marching to Burma.

Superman’s knickers. A red turban. Wants to be a hero.


He returns with hair stiff from sweat, cheeks a freshly punched

knuckle hue, goosebumps.


It’s too cold outside for shorts Mother screams, scratching nails on stains,

draping a towel around his waist which he sports like a lungi.


Each year, he hoards his uniform: white shirt, black shoes and always

shorts: cargo shorts, crease resistant cargo shorts, crease resistant,

stain resistant cargo shorts.


When Brother leaves home for good, Mother packs trousers

instead: mud coloured, stretched like moth wings on train lights.


Brother wears them each evening now as dusk strikes.

Knees lunged, ready for the catch, he raises his arms and claps.


Mother, he prays, hoping she will hear him: Bharat Mata Ki Jai.


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About Ankita

Ankita Saxena is the author of Mother | Line, which released in April 2023, with Verve Poetry Press. She read English Literature at Jesus College, Oxford (2014-2017), where she was Head of Events at Oxford University Poetry Society, and President of the Turl Street Arts Festival. She has been commended in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award three times. She is a Barbican Young Poet alumnus, part of the Octavia Poetry Collective, and one half of the ORIGINS Poetry Duo. Her poetry is published in Wasafiri, Modern Poetry in Translation and Bath Magg. She has performed widely across the UK, including live at Hammersmith Appollo, with The Guilty Feminist.

By day, she works at Social Finance, a not-for-profit social enterprise, helping to tackle complex and enduring issues in society and create lasting and widespread change.

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