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Mirrorwork Blues

By Nandita Modhubonti

A blind woman fly fishes with her cane

soft white jumper, fraying gray ends

her piercing blue eyes are distracting,

as I observe the early inhabitants of Tavistock Square Gardens

I wink back at the sun, today it’s red

An eye keeps out

and grudgingly awaits bus number 168

last stop:Anoushka’s bedroom

(knock three times, and always bring wine)

Turning away from people I know, 

the potholes scream my name

From across the street

I smile,

as the morning breathes life into itself

out 1, 2, 3

in 1, 2, 3

The search for inspiration climaxes

with the slow lurching of the bus

irises make contact


coffee steam

quiet camaraderie

a crinkled pink uniform jerks awake to the clink of a bottle of rosé,

I hold close to my heart.

The clouds glide back to reveal warm magenta,

shrapnel of water

fuchsia jewel tones storm down

mere downpour, torrential existence

ice cold, pretty pink eyes

rose rimmed glasses

warmer than anything I have ever felt.

Frozen droplets encrust the voice of a woman,

till a river of diamonds runs from her mouth

she cries out to our driver in the same tongue

that flows in my veins:

a flood wash of stars, heat, and heartbreak

I conjure up the lines on my grandmother’s face

and as I fall asleep to the cool touch of windowpane,

and dream that she no longer loves me.

Gravelly, breathless humming booms

through the fray,

frazzled nerves are soothed

and my numb toes match its beat.

Bare branches mimic 

a palpable desire to live

in the eyes of the young mother

dressed only in sweet memories she snickers

and I step out,

into the London fog.

Shards of a gilded mirror

lay on the street

stop to stare, 

the culprit in the reflection is long gone.

His shadow runs back and forth on the tarmac,

immortalized in the remains of a crime, overlooked.

I bend over to make conversation with tattooed butterflies,

in a cage of skin and flesh,

that serves them no longer.

One tells me to love, 

the other says I must know better.

A little girl trips over pointy red shoes, 

hair dry in the downpour,

her pous is pink pointed indignation.

I realize those delicate lightning eyes

can see my butterflies!

I tend to her scraped knees

Only so she would stay a while, 

as the blood flows its course

I wait for her to ask:

“Miss? Aren’t you just happy to be alive?”

Nandita Modhubonti graduated from Clark University in June 2021. She is originally from Dhaka, Bangladesh and currently resides in New York City. Her five-year plan involves leading parallel lives: one as a writer and the other as an international human rights lawyer.


Archive, The River

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