Ankita Saxena

poet, performer, workshop facilitator

Fear in a Handful of Salt

If you taste pepper flakes or chilli, you will be angry.

Tears in sofa cushions. Shut doors and silence.

He will handpick your flaws and grind them.


If you taste jaggery, you will be sweet.

You will make him breakfast and buy him roses;

you will be kissed and loved and lusted for.


If you taste neem,  you will be bitter.

You will not make a child. He will not treat you fairly.

He will cheat you and you will be tested.


If you taste tamarind, you will be disgusted.

He will shame you in front of your mother

and you will shame yourself.


If you taste mango, raw, you will be surprised.

Your body will change and your mind. You will begin.

You will end. He will crush and care and crush again.


If you taste salt, you will be afraid.

Not knowing what you will or will not be.

He, not knowing either.

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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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