Amma

This poem is written about my maternal grandmother, I call her Amma. The first few lines are Bengali, the language that we speak. Enjoy!

Baba high court judge chillen. 

Amader Patna bari khoob shundoor chiloo

I wish you could have seen it, Roshu

Our sprawling bungalow in Patna, 

Filled with vines, wild mango trees and dogs. 

Judy the greyhound

Wendy the dachshund

Ma’s pet deer, before it became illegal to own one.

She kept a garden in the back where she grew vegetables.

Of course, she was never the one who cooked them.

There were multiple secret passageways for a little girl to get lost in.

The rain in the monsoon seasons would pitter-patter against my window frame.

The humidity would cause my hair to frizz,

Oh, if only you could have seen it, Roshu. 

Baba commanded respect, his people loved him. 

He stood up for the low wage workers, 

Argued for the little guy

I hope you do the same, Roshu.

The house was full of music, light and colors. 

I wish you could have seen it, Roshu. 

Before, well, everything.

Before the demolition, court cases and family against family. 

I wish you could have seen it, Roshu. 

I know you would have loved it, Roshu. 

Model Minority 

A continuation of my rage towards the general population- Enjoy!

I’ll be can be your best immigrant 

I can speak 3 languages other than English

but never by default 

I’ll share stories of my homeland at parties

but not too often. 

I mean, this is America!

I can laugh at your politically incorrect jokes 

even if they’re at my expense

I’ll bite my mother-tongue

I don’t want to hurt your feelings.

I’ll spare you from the tales of my past,

My trials and tribulations

That brought me here.

Because, after all

isn’t it so much better in America 

than wherever hellhole you came from?

I can hang an American flag on my front door

and pray that no one looks inside. 

Phoenix Girl 

“In order to rise from its own ashes

A

Phoenix

First

Must

Burn”

 Burn

Burn like the soils of my homeland 

Burn like my skin when I would walk outside in July 

Ashes in the sky

Pollution and smoke 

Remnants of the celebration of the Festival of Lights 

Ashes on a pyre 

First

I’m the first daughter to come to America 

I’ll be the first to graduate from an American college

First, a child of my motherland

Then, me. 

-Quote By Octavia Butler

a first kiss

we burned our tongue on hot pavements

in a parking lot, at three pm, ninety degrees outside

i wished that it would burn your taste off

so, i wouldn’t feel it

i tried to cut my lips off

the traitorous pair 

betraying my every wish to stop and run away

my hands need a sawdust bath

my legs could be fine sitting miles away from here

 on a boat to antarctica 

anywhere from here, this body

this mind

this guilt

anywhere would be perfectly suitable

for a shameless girl like me

Memories From June 1st

Maybe for kicks, we’ll dance for ourselves. 

Around the kitchen, while waiting for the pasta water to boil 

For laughs, we’ll sing karaoke to “Build Me Up Buttercup”. 

And maybe tonight, we’ll watch the fireflies in the yard and laugh when my dog tries to eat one. 

in three days, I’ll look back on this evening 

Sitting in a lonely dorm room 

And pray that someone would come and take me back to that moment.