Afternoon tv. A woman’s body
on table, blood on white dress. How often
do we glean this image, so often I
feel like I know her. She is my sister,
my friend. She is me. She sits up, agape,
a gap of human, eyes twee brown, bevels
her skin. Her mouth a wound. ‘Hi!’ her voice core
rock, filmic, moving through my body, air
rushing. How to speak of violence without
repeating it. What language? What tone? What
memory? What remains after the ex-
citing image? The exotic, uneasy
thing which quickens and entertains? Rough fingers.
The moon through a tiny window. Wiping.
The moon through a tiny window. Wiping
the window clear. I was born in chaos,
It was my mother, father, home and land,
my Jana Gana Mana, allegiance, my loss,
my other/wise self. I am not serious.
I am never serious when I talk of this.
My therapist says it’s a coping means
or mechanism. She makes me cream
of mushroom, drinks me up. To joke and joke
until the face falls off, to laugh belly/
wise and naked until dreams land in
dirt. They dig for worms. You need to go deeper,
she says. I cry. My eyes little pearls, fall
off. I cradle them in arms. Their tenderness.
I cradle them in arms. Their tendernesses
intact. Not gone. Not entirely. Not yet.
I came home to find a hyena skin.
This can’t be safe, I told myself but unlaced
anyway. See the earth—its blue calls, spins
beautifully. In time it heals
a loosening limb, a dead mine, a planet
of lies. Does it? A faucet of languor
& miracles: Who am I for? I quest,
repeat, rinse, wipe. I’m not a post-trauma
song in stasis. There is magic in hills,
an unbent loop of time allowing more.
The nature of which is a hint, a notion.
I’m calling to say I lived. I am alive.
Anindita Sengupta is the author of Walk Like Monsters (Paperwall, 2016) and City of Water (Sahitya Akademi, 2010). Her work has appeared in anthologies and journals such as Plume, 580 Split, One and Breakwater Review. She is Contributing Editor, Poetry, at Barren Magazine. She has received fellowships and awards from the Charles Wallace Trust India, the International Reporting Project, TFA India, and Muse India. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California. Her website is http://aninditasengupta.com.