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Issue 4.2

Summer 2024

Chandanie Somwaru


In this poem, I play with the dichotomy of land and body—what are the intersections between them and how can we stop seeing women’s bodies as something to be extorted. I wanted to play with the woman in this poem returning to herself and allowing herself to be a human instead of a being created.

In a Line, My Aunties Wait for Their Turn to Place Their Palms on My Skin. 



Your diaphragm has been stuffed with dandelions, they say. We’ve seen this before, they say. When a woman’s body fills every breath with a stem. 


They dig their fingers underneath my ribs


                                      pluck yellow petal 

                                                                         by yellow petal 


telling me ha ha ha like this make sure you feel the contracting of the diaphragm. Make sure you account for each breath when you sing 

                                                                                                                 kshama karo


                                                     raksha karo. 


You have been calling any entity, they’ve said


                                                                                        and now they are rupturing from you.


            All in the name of beej mantras 


                                                                            piled onto the butterfly wings of my thyroid.


                        It’s true.


The night I lost my body for the first time, I asked the sky to paint me into sunset. I let the moths nest behind my knees. I filled my body with rain, piss, my mother’s tears until I was a polluted sea. 


My aunties dig, filling their palms with my salt. 


                                                 Shanti Shanti Shanti, they chant into my belly button 


and out spurts the rum rot, the moon crust,


                                        the wind I ate last supper, carvings of fingers too big to be mine. 


They pet my hair, every touch feeling like my mother’s, who has yet to step into the room. We’ve seen this before, they say. You’re in there somewhere, they say.

Chandanie Somwaru (she/her) is an Indo-Caribbean woman who was born and raised in Queens, New York. Her writing has been published in Angime, Honey Literary, Posit, Solstice, SWWIM, The Margins, VIDA Review, and elsewhere. In 2021, Somwaru published a chapbook with Ghostbird Press titled Urgent \\ Where The Mind Goes \\ Scattered. She received an MFA in poetry from Queens College and is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Chandanie's Book Recommendations

Cutlish by Rajiv Mohabir
Ask the Brindled by No’u Revilla

The Wild Fox of Yemen by Threa Almontaser

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