(In Memory of Reetika Vazirani, 1962-2003)
Standing at the serrated edge
of a Goghian field,
the stalks, like jagged fingers,
stabbing obscenely at the sky,
I think of another woman.
she killed her child and then herself.
There is the dull gold of decay,
corn husks and dying light of day
and one lone blackbird.
I, who have traveled
from a place of excess fecundity,
a land so pregnant
that the undergrowth teems,
I stand in this aridity,
a dark desiccation,
Dr. Dipika Mukherjee’s poetry collection, Dialect of Distant Harbors, was published by CavanKerry Press in October 2022, and won the Quill and Ink Award for Poetry in 2023; She is also the author of The Palimpsest of Exile and The Third Glass of Wine. Her literary achievements include being longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize with her debut novel, Ode to Broken Things, and winning the UK Virginia Prize for Fiction with her second novel, Shambala Junction. A collection of travel essays, Writer’s Postcards, will be published by Penguin Random House in 2023 and she is the recipient of a 2022 Esteemed Artist Award from the City of Chicago, is core faculty at StoryStudio Chicago, and teaches at the Graham School at University of Chicago.