sun, singeing my brown body.
today’s paper, leaking
red, a bloody tapestry.
“rawalpindi,” says my mother.
and she drips into her sink.
I churn to know. from where she
hears. these brown bodies sing.
It whistles through me
when she mourns. a piercing reverie.
unearths a scythe sheathed
undigested. shadow memory.
for ten years more I trace
moist steel. read my tattered flesh.
hope it will sing me symphonies
my mother danced to,
“I began writing this poem four years ago, when I was first grappling with the entirely different contexts from which my immigrant parents and I consumed media—in this case, news of a terrorist attack in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, from where my family had migrated during the Partition. The character contends with the sharp weight of historical memory, wishing they had deeper insight into the people closest to them.” — Sagaree Jain
Sagaree Jain is a poet, writer, and researcher. She grew up in the Silicon Valley and studied History at the University of California at Berkeley. She is the co-creator of the Turmeric Project, which spotlights queer South Asian art, and she works in human rights. Sagaree’s work has been published or featured in the Aerogram, Spy Kids Review, The Offing, and the New York Times. Sagaree is fascinated by women, South Asia, poetry, scientific racism, reproductive justice, queer health, decolonization, migration, surveillance, on and on.
This article was edited by Culture and Media Editor Geetika Pathania Jain. She does not remember this incident recounted by her daughter, but then, memory is a fickle thing…
Cover Photo Credit: Kathleen Tyler Conklin