Poetry at Sangam




Migration, Exile…these are men’s words.
Women have always been torn up
like rice seedlings to be replanted
in marriage (or another name);
my language weeps its wedding melodies
in many dialects, many tunes
In my next life, O God, don’t make me a daughter:

Exile, Migration…what meaning then?

I am no woman-poet-migrant-in-exile.
Keep your labels, please.

I am not tamed by toil, shoulders stiff
with xenophobia; nor a person of colour
shunted to workshops where grievances
grow in collegiality. I am a nomad,
homeless, rootless, I am the zephyr –
the vayu that breezes past rooted trees.
I swish past suburbs, four-bedroomed homes,
theatered basements, the two-car garage;
nothing stops me as I skim by brooks
snake to large rivers, course by course,
I am fed by a hunger, sharper than
life, to live in this;to suck bare
a skin, tender as peeled lychees, always
terrified that there may not be another
rebirth to appeal to.

For now, there is this. New
beginnings, another journey,
roadsunravelling untraveled.

I find my muse as much
as she finds me, without
home or temple, veena
in hand, book in another,
in the feminine infinite we
make our home.


(First published in Sugarmule, May 2013. Migration,Exile… has been performed at various venues by the Shanghai Indian Performing Arts Collective – a Chinese/Australian/Indian initiative.)