18 October 2007

I want to share

something I heard today and loved:

After Challenging Jennifer Lee to a Fight

I hesitate, because what would my father say? My aunts in India
are swathed in sarees, glass bangles and crimson nails.
Their perfect ropes of hair, oiled and glossy black, never
betray them to the wind or the chase of a chicken

in the courtyard. They'd watch my grandmother
shape bricks of dark halva, wrap each one
in tight plastic they'd chill for days.
Always calm, serene.

At least, that's how my father
tells it, but I know when pressed,
my aunts would have done the same thing.
Jenny Lee called my younger sister

Shrimp in front of the whole group of Bus Kids—
no way I could let Jenny just swing her pink backpack
all the way home. Once the bus pulled away
from our stop on Landis Lane, I tapped her

on the shoulder and, and-we were a mess
of ribbons and slaps. She was easy to scare
from my nail marks drawing tiny pinpricks
of blood on her arms, her puffy cheeks. I told her

the red dots meant she had rabies, that
she shouldn't tell anyone because then she'd infect
them and most of all, she better say sorry to my sister,
else I'd push her face into the barrel cacti littering

the sidewalks. My first rage, my first fire. Jenny
sniffled Sorry and I was relieved: I wasn't sure
I could hit much more and my skinny legs
were spent with dust and sweat. My sister

and I walked home in silence. If we wore sarees,
all the yards and yards of shiny sateen would've
unwound from our tiny bodies, too light to drag
in the dust, too proud and taken with wind, like flags.

by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, from At the Drive-In Volcano


  1. ooh! thank you for sharing this poem andrea. i really enjoyed reading it. love the last image so much and your photo...well, it is just spectacular. xo

  2. Oh god, I love this. Thanks for sharing!

  3. portland ppl are creative.

    it's my first time here

    i like your blog

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. what amazing imagery!!!
    thank you for sharing.

    i know you love a good meme...
    i'm not sure if you've already done the one i just tagged you for...
    but come on over and check it out.

    have a great weekend ;-)