Jagari Mukherjee: Poetry (Voices Within 2021)

Jagari Mukherjee is an award-winning poet, editor and reviewer based in Kolkata, India. She has authored three collections of poetry. Her latest full-length volume of poetry, The Elegant Nobody, was published by Hawakal Publishers in January 2020. She is a gold medalist in English Literature, a Best of the Net 2018 nominee, DAAD scholar from Technical University, Dresden, Germany, a Bear River alumna. Her poems and other creative pieces have been published in different venues both in India and abroad. She is the Managing Editor of EKL Review. She recently won the Women Empowered Powerful Emergent Voice Award.


Inamorato, dance with me sixteen years
past the present time.
We stand before a monastery 
blessed by heaven with snow-flowers;
the ice drips on its doors.
A snowflake is an oval mirror
in which your eyes reflect mine.

We had not met back then;
the journey from Kolkata to Phuntsholing
took days by train.
You played cricket in the city
of the blazing sun.
I warmed my fingers in the shadow
of a smoky *bukhari; dreaming of monasteries
with interiors cool dark red.
Inamorato, come mingle with me
on Time's bridal bed.
We'll conjure innocence from the essence
of this first dance.

*Traditional heater


I walk through a door to face a portrait of Van Gogh for the first time in my life. A winter rose blooms. The jolt radiates from the gaze and turns my bones to turquoise, transfixing me like a ring on your finger. I forget all known languages.

you and I 
in the cold afterglow

Years later, I saunter into yet another room at yet another museum. "This painting is called The Jewish Cemetery," my sister says. The canvas sucks me in and I sit on an ancient grave. Lightning strikes inches away from me. I am drenched.

my souvenir postcards--
a spider weaves silver net
over memories


The heavy silver dry fruits box
I keep like a lover on my bed.
I heap ornaments in each empty squared space,
and many journeys begin:
I sit at a beach in Mexico
with a blue-beaded necklace and a floral dress.
I cross the Atlantic to Michigan wearing a
pale green lacquered bracelet enamelled
with pink flowers.
I climb the slopes of Bhutan, a white metal choker
adorning my neck, bought from a Tibetan antique shop.
Twenty years past.

With each ornament, I travel
across time and space.
I meet the young me full of coquetry.
I meet the old me at the end of the day
to whom Life holds the fragrance of lavender spray.

And then, I find
a pair of gold earrings that 
stop the time behind a brocade curtain.

My great-grandmother had worn them
as a bride.
My mother, with much pride,
passed on the gift.
"It is yours now," she had said.

I touch the gold latticework and sigh.
Or, perhaps, I remember a funeral and cry.
I return the earrings out of sight.

Like a bird in flight, Time restarts.

I distract myself with trinkets on my bed.
I run from the memory of love and death.

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