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Bright Passage

I.
Grandmother’s sari, freckles of gold poured into silk,
Koil’s cry, scrap of khadi grandfather spun,
I pluck all this from my suitcase — its buckles dented, zipper torn.APAC-BB-Color
Also pictures pressed into an album:
Parents by a rosebush,
Ancestors startled in sepia, eyes wide open,
Why have you brought us here?

II.

Mist soars on the river, my door splits free of its hinges:
My children’s children, and those I will never see –
Generations swarm in me,
Born to this North American soil, dreamers in a new world.
I must pass through that rocking doorway,
Figure out words, clean minted, untranslatable –
Already in the trees finches are warbling, calling my name.

Note: This poem was specially composed for the exhibit Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation, Smithsonian, Washington DC, 2014-2015. The first stanza of the poem appears on the wall of the exhibit just as you enter, above a trunk filled with various articles a migrant might have brought with her. (Published in India Quarterly, 2014)

Bright Passage (India Quarterly, 2014) | 2014 | Poetry, Works & Collaborations
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