Voices Within: Jagari Mukherjee

Jagari Mukherjee is the Founder and Chief Executive Editor of the literary journal, EKL Review and is the winner of the Reuel International Prize for Poetry, She has authored three collections of poetry--a chapbook and two full-length volumes, the latest being The Elegant Nobody (2020) published by Hawakal. Her poetry e-book, Wine-Kissed Poems (2020), co-authored with Dr. Ampat Koshy, became an Amazon bestseller in India and the US. She is a gold medalist in English Literature, a Best of the Net 2018 nominee, DAAD scholar from Technical University, Dresden, Germany, and a Bear River Writers' Conference alumna. She has won numerous prestigious awards, including the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize for Book Review (2018), the Women Empowered Gifted Poet Award (2020), and the Jury Prize at Friendswood Library's Ekphrastic Poetry Reading and Contest (2021).


On Listening to the 108 Names of Sri Krishna

I knew some of them, not all.
I let Madhav Keshav Govinda bloom like roses
in the drought-garden of the soul.
I become Radha, Lalita, Vishakha, 
I stand proud and tall. My heart starts to race 
in rhythm to the couplets of the song.
I am high on the love's intoxication, I let the names roll.
I turn a gopi waiting to bloom all along.

(My father tells me that when he was four,
his body hungered for food, yet he wanted more.
Every evening he sang the 108 names at his neighbors' door,
and listened to his mother's stories of every myth and lore.)

My body turns fire and air..
I become Lalita and wistfully stare
at Krishna and Radha dance: 
I merge with them at every chance.
I let Madhav Keshav Govinda bloom
in the spring-garden of the soul.
I taste his names till the last refrain.
Let me be stained blue again and again.
Haribol.
***


Earth to Sun

I am the ballerina called Earth
spinning on my axis as you, the Sun
hold me in a trance.
I dance when you touch me
with your light, and also,
when the birds take flight
and you leave me for the night.
You change every time you create
a new season; in summers
I burn in your heat.
In winters, you hide
like a lover who will not
listen to reason.
Then, Monsoons come…
you cover yourself in dark modesty
with the blanket of clouds
as thunder and rain upon me
stake their claims.
And in autumn, swirling leaves
adorn my hair as I spin
on the axis-altar of your worship.
They say, without you,
there would be no life in me.
You have the might, the right
To extinguish my name.

This galaxy is my dance floor.
Our bond is cosmic folklore.
I spin so that you can take me whole.
I am the missing piece 
of your body;
You are the lucent flame of my soul.
***


Afterwards

I wake up in the maternity ward
after a procedure.
I was dreaming of dancing with you,
except that you had left me like
the infected IUD removed from 
my body.
There are new mothers
with babies all around
and the same old odd me
bleeding after two surgeries.

The Sun in my eyes refuses to die.
Somebody has stabbed the mermaid's
fishtail, and I feel the dislodged
pink flesh and the gouged out
silver scales, lying about like giant snowdrops.
My uterine wall spills out
like a flood of rubies.
The nurse puts a cotton pad
to absorb the blood, as
empathetic babies scream out
my sapphire blues.
I am too sick to cry, even when
there is no sign of you.
***

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