Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry

Shayok (Misha) Chowdhury

Creation Myth:
My Childbride Great-Grandmother and a Hilsa Fish

She bends bone
with her girl hands, her

mother hands willing
the flesh to fall away with ease

with ease, shh—she breathes, it will be
easier if you forget the river, shh

breathes the damp
of the floor into her feet

the cold packed dirt that holds her
captive in this new murder, shh—she

it will be easier if you forget.

Your swimming eye,
too fierce to ignore, is

too dry to see, the river
has abandoned you,
her eyes

Issue 3 | Summer 2011

swimming with sweatstung tears
and the stink of skin

stripped from flesh
divided into iron pans: here,

the back, the stomach there, the blade
has stained her

girl hands,
her mother hands

with the metal spice of its stench, she swears, I'll
set you aswim again.

in spice, in
turmeric and cumin and clove,

and you will glow
golden, shh
—the snap

of a skeleton in her girl hands, her mother—
hands her a memory of water.

From the shore,
the sky reaches grey into the horizon.