In my nightmare my mother and her mother
sit facing one another in rough cotton cloth.
The clock chimes. They pile food on one another’s
plates. Flurry of fennel jolt of jeera
Tiles white air sharp. My Nani clutches
her aching stomach. But no man sits to consume—
signals the beginning of time—
and the table creaks with flatbreads.
The food rots a rainbow shimmer and my mothers
waste away. Showering mint chutney into blackened
biryani. Sprinkling coriander, mirchi, achaar, salt. Skin
stretching hollow. The raita tender and flowering with life.
I send all my love letters via Signal. Or equally rootless
forms. In the morning, my love whispers to me, bending
the waves of her voice intimate—“Did you dream?”
“Will you dream of me?”—I promise. Later, I jump the turnstile,
become a body among bodies on the train, the tenor
of her voice already draining from me. In another time,
I see striped bass flickering in water, an oil slick of creatures
lost to the archives. The train docks at the airport. The people
spill away. On the neat square on which I am recorded,
I send my love letters—”I just want to be home” and
“please eat my wilting produce,”— then excise the meat of me
from its memory. This is a practiced transit. My costumes
in this case; my squares in another square. I divest myself
of my mothers’ earrings, see nothing, say nothing, and then,
I become. Unreplicably red rhododendron. An ion trailing
an unnamed comet. Light scattered like wine by yesterday’s
sunset. A disappearing dispatch, a Molotov message. Lobbed
across rooftops already alight.
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 currently works in human rights. Sagaree is fascinated by women, South Asia, poetry, scientific racism, reproductive justice, queer health, decolonization, migration, surveillance, on and on. She lives in Brooklyn.