A People’s History of The Half-Loved Present

Poetry / Nandini Dhar

Let’s get it over with: here, every brick is carved
out of bones. A fistful of dust, your hands cupped

around water from the stream into whose stench
has encroached the memories of those whose faces

were blackened beyond recognition. There is no mythic
memory you can transcribe, save and except

for the one you, I, we will write ourselves. Your
hawaii-chappal cemented on the tar, every cup of tea

you gulp down in roadside tea-stalls is ribboned
with memories of many genocides you consider

far greater than your own. To begin with,
there is no sentence in this language

that can hold up the heaviness of an emaciated
scarlet flag. And, you have nothing else other

than that density to chronicle. What follows
is an ascent. A poet less shy of cliches

than you would find a metaphor in the pearl necklace
hidden inside a lump of rotting meat. But, all you have

is this guilt: of surviving, of not being old enough.

Nandini Dhar was born and raised in Kolkata, India, and now divides her time between Kolkata and Austin, Texas, where she is doing a PhD in Comparative Literature. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in SOFTBLOW, The Meadowland Review, Coachella Review, Prick of the Spindle, Redactions Poetry and many others.