Exile By Palak Parikh


The saffron rain spits on my flesh.
I walk home from Nani’s, my hair
blistered yellow like deities

ethereal, hijacked. Vagabond dark peddler
sells them to me. Arms outstretched
bloodshot irises and asphalt

fingers and tarred gums.
He chants a bhajan that bleeds
past my ears, I hear nothingness

even though Nani just sang it
to me. His garam masala breath splits my lip
searing them into two petals. Two

screams: mine and the doll. His child eats
the face of the doll, it sticks between
two teeth. Her face massaged clean

in dirt. She looks just like me. I smile,
she stares. To her I am just a body, a body
she wants to eat, but cannot. Mama used to

pluck eucalyptus leaves, strung
them into a necklace for the martyred
deities. My eyes welter yellowed tarnish

as they melt the rotten
eucalyptus tree like the British Raj
shrapnel that killed great-

Nana. I watch the scent ravage
through Mama’s village, reminded
of the martyred bodies in Paradise

and Chico. But in this nation,
the alive are still living. And I

By Palak Parikh


Palak Parikh is an emerging Indian-American writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is intrigued with writing as a means to foster female empowerment and connect with first generation Americans. She often explores topics like feminism, race, and cultural mongrelization. She has been recognized by the California State PTA and Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. When she is not writing, Palak enjoys drinking coffee and trying new exotic foods!

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