do you remember the spring of 1991, before i was born,
before the world became bent on ending?
do you remember how
the water rose up to your elbows,
air thick with the scent
of turning earth?
there was a cyclone in chittagong the month
my brother was born and so i think
it’s why he lives this way:
hands clenched up in fists
though there’s a smile on his face.
voice commanding, charismatic even
with his head bowed in defeat.
it’s like he knows how to be afraid
but he’s taught himself not to feel
and i don’t know how he does it.
maybe he was born with the force
of the storm that carried him in
or maybe he’s just ambitious,
brimming with bravery. but i wouldn’t know
how that feels. i only know to speak
in unfinished dreams.
well, there was a heat wave in chicago
the summer that bore me
and we were in new york, of course,
so, logically, the death could not
have made its way to me.
but ma, inside me there’s always been a drought,
an absence of anything living
and i’m wondering if that’s why–
i’m combing my history to discover
what shaped me into this.
how it came to this.
if it was my ancestry, my DNA,
some long ago foretold fate.
(the cruelest truth, the thought
i’m trying not to uncover
is that i once had an unblemished soul
until i tore it all apart.
not god, not the world, not another,
that i was born utterly whole.
that i ruined everything myself.)
By Amrita Chakraborty
Amrita Chakraborty is a 20 year old writer based in New York. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and attempting to understand life by writing copious amounts of poetry and petting as many cats as she can. In her free time, Amrita can be found lost in a library somewhere, thinking about all the places in the world she has yet to visit, or falling asleep on public transportation.