Pritha Bhattacharyya | Superstition

Superstition

 sweeping the floors after dusk isn’t
……….easy, the frangipani
petals still fragrant, still usable, when

dusk tramples along the horizon all
……….cats are black, all
meaning is bad, all meaning is

bad luck comes to you when
……….you are noticed,
is what I am told to heed in a

plume of smoke, a nightingale
……….chirping at the end of
a fishing line; here is where the world

becomes a shiver down your
……….throat, underneath the debris
from a generation still not

quitting is a letter, in the language
……….I was always meant
to forget, crying:

do not be a fool for
……….gods standing behind you.

 

Power Outage

As Ma flips………………on the hairdryer the switch……………cocks;
…………..fuse pops off.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,The bulb overhead dims………………slow, as
though…………………….expiring breath………..after a gasp. There
……………………..are no edges……………..so she reaches………both………arms
out, grabbing for………solidity, but catching…………only incense………………… smoke
…………………..…from the bedroom                    where I huddle against
a cabinet with………….broken teacups and a photo of my great-aunt’s husband who was not
yet dead.,,,,,,,,…A tiny set of chutes…………..and ladders,……………..and yet
once…..again it is…….upon us. The……………darkness………………….. – is darker here
……………………..I imagine,……… as children grieve…………….parents more
deeply, darkly.  India living……………means receiving………a mother’s love. And
…………without it, they fall down………….ladders, claw up
chutes.,,,,,,,…..,,As she
……………,,,,,,,…steadies……………………herself on the landing……………………….Hers
………..call out from downstairs.,,,,,,,,,, And I think perhaps…………..she counts
………….,,,,,,,,,…the steps…………………………….to their death,
just as vividly…………………as I do for mine.

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Pritha Bhattacharyya is a Bengali-American writer who received her B.A. from Cornell University. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Nashville Review, Ninth Letter, Apogee Journal, RHINO Poetry, Bodega, Litro Online and elsewhere. She currently serves as a prose reader for The Adroit Journal. To learn more about her work, visitprithabread.wordpress.com.