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What Do You See? -- poetry by Aashna Moorjani

The woman gestures around us. “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Vast light blue space, a few white clouds.”

She nods. “What else? Do you see all the hummingbirds and strong pine trees?”

“Yes, I do.”


“Come now,” she sighs. “You surely have more to say. Just look at the world around you.”

“It all looks the same, nothing changes just because it’s a new day.”

“You know that’s not true.”

What does she want?


“Let me tell you what I see. I see grass burnt a pale green by the steaming sun. I see—”

“That’s fine,” I cut in, “but why does it matter?”

“Tell me,” she repeats, “let your sight go beyond this world, this floating sphere.”

“I—”


“What do you really see?”

“I see glittery pink pixies flying with the hummingbirds.”

She smiles.

“I see scaly dragons with talons as tall as me, the sting of their flame often incurred.”


I close my eyes. “I see aliens flying around in a pirate ship amidst the darkness of space.

I see swirls of budding red roses, petals not yet unfurled” I continue:

“I can’t believe I never noticed the vampire bat’s hiding place.

The smooth gray cobblestone lining the path, the way the weeds are curled.”


She snaps me out of my reverie: “what do you think?”

I shake my head and throw up my hands. “I just don’t know.”

She laughs. “You can do better than that.”

“I wish I could understand…”


“Why do the pixies and hummingbirds get along?

Why is it so hot today when it was raining yesterday?

How come nobody notices the dragons?

How large is space?

Why does the vampire bat hide?

Do aliens exist?

Why do weeds grow in the first place?”


“Why are you asking me all these questions?”


Aashna Moorjani is a writer (but you already knew that). When she’s not writing, she’s either trying her hand at baking fancy French desserts or reading. Despite being slightly obsessed with Pride and Prejudice, her favorite kinds of books are the ones featuring talking dragons, maps, and magic. One day, she plans to live in France and London and New York City and maybe Florence.

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