nothing but the need for friendship
reduced, quest now stripped of myth
how difficult not to remember
the colour of eyes

how we ran to and from such passions
there was a time i thought i must not know you
but outside the rain howled your name
could not forget, would not, how could i?

was it this then?
all the aches leading
up to my own liberation
the essence of a touch
that carries its own
meaning, the wound that heals
in spite of who i am?

everyplace i go i see the new underclass. the ones who slink
by unnoticed and unnoticing, or the one who robs you of your place as he makes his own, leaving you behind in this arrogant male race war

i sought to remake myself
while in the air
questions hung suspended above endeavour
hard to shape the mouths just so
pronounce the squareness
of my new stiff vowels
hands loosed now by unwelcoming bone

in the dream you appeared as if back from the sunday in the country.
in the city your languid manner seemed out of place while the window framd the moving twilight street. it could have been any woman really, that stood watchng the sun set somwhere beyond the hard gray lake,
the seagulls venturing past the construction on the waterfront

did i tell you
i always wanted to meet Malinche?
she fascinated me
she who had a country to sell
a land to betray
which had betrayed her

those were the days before i discovered
you make your own country
wear your skin like a flag
your breasts like battle scars.

(1993-2019, Copyright Kaushalya Bannerji, from A New Remembrance, TSAR Books, Toronto, 1993)

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