Rita Mookerjee

Nightmare Bhajan


There are ghosts on my back
legion spiny and dark-skinned, crimson-skinned, light-skinned
smeary bindis and gold anklets

they roll across my bones to remind me

 

                                                                          your nani died
                                                                          your dadi died
                                                                          you did nothing but cringe
                                                                          at a kiss
                                                                          you blocked their odd bodies from your mind
                                                                          suffered them only once
                                                                          we will remind you

                                                                                                                                   tablas in the night
                                                                                                                                   the bansuri wail

                                                                          nothing compares to your selfishness
                                                                          nothing saved your mother
                                                                          her grief the twenty-one years between her hands
                                                                          and nani’s
                                                                          atone.

 

Rita Mookerjee's poetry is forthcoming in Lavender Review, Sorority Mansion Review, and Spider Mirror Journal. Her critical work has been featured in the Routledge Companion of Literature and Food, the Bloomsbury Handbook to Literary and Cultural Theory, and the Bloomsbury Handbook of Twenty-First Century Feminist Theory. She currently teaches ethnic minority fiction and women's literature at Florida State University where she is a PhD candidate specializing in contemporary Caribbean literature with a focus on queer theory. Her current research deals with the fiction of Edwidge Danticat.

 

 

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