July 7, 2016

Three poems by Prerna Bakshi: "Coming Out," "This Morning," and 'What's the Name of your pind?"

Prerna Bakshi is a writer, poet and activist. Her work has been published widely, most recently in Indiana Voice Journal, Off the Coast, TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism, and Peril Magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture.  She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of the recently released book, Burnt Rotis, With Love, which was long-listed for the 2015 Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in the UK. More of her work can be found at: http://prernabakshi.strikingly.com/

  Coming Out

12 years old.

Come here, he said. Look what I’ve got for you, he said. I wanted it to be a surprise, he said. I’ve been planning to show you for days, he said. I’ve made sure it pops out as soon as you unwrap it, he said. I bet you’ll open your mouth as soon as you see it, he said. You might scream, he said. You might cry, he said. You might say I shouldn’t have, he said. But I know you wanted it, he said. So don’t be shy, he said. Come here, he said. Come and lie down with me, he said. It’s under these sheets, he said. Get your head under there, he said. Start looking, he said. Don’t come out until you find it, he said.

I hadn’t come out
until now.

(This poem first appeared in Sick Lit Magazine)

This Morning

Looks different than yesterday’s
(like something terrible happened).
I wonder what the night did to it.

Well, I did hear loud thunderstorms and
lightning struck.
The night was violent indeed.

Seems this morning is still shaken from that experience.
But like a good morning
it must pretend what happened last night is normal.

It must go on about its daily chores.
It must wake the sun up.
It must awaken those birds.

Those free, happy birds
chirping among their friends
before they fly off in search of food.

Each day they must create
their own sustenance.
Their own reality.
Their own nests.

When a nest gets broken,
they make another one,
somewhere else.

Away from the prying eyes of

I hear the silent murmur
of this morning,
no one else hears.

I hear its silent cry.
Its envy
of those birds.

(Author’s note: This poem is dedicated to the survivors of domestic violence. It first  appeared in Alyss)

 What’s the Name of your pind?

He asks me which pind
do I belong to?

Confused, I respond by telling him
the names of my grandfather’s and grandmother’s village.

He interjects, her’s not necessary. Your belonging, your identity, your pind is traced through the
pind of your father and his father and so on, you see.

I say nothing, and just nod.
In the blink of an eye, my grandmother’s history was deemed irrelevant. Erased.

History belongs to victors, they say.
Clearly, she had lost.

Her past, torn
like it was an unwanted page from the book of history.

Her clung together memories
got flushed down the toilet like a clump of hair stuck in the comb.

What is her pind, then?
What is her home country?

Or is she a traveling soul?
A wandering Sufi?

An escaped soldier?
An absconded convict?

A fugitive?
A refugee?

If she had no home to claim as her own,
which borders did she cross then?

To what extent did she even cross any, if at all?
What was her supposed ‘home’?

Or was there even any?

(This poem first appeared in The Ofi Press)

~Prerna Bakshi


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