“Berries-n-Crème” by Preeti Vangani

28 February 2020 on Poetry   Tags: , ,

Mouth open, I run
my mother’s last lipstick
over my lips. I’d forfeit
all my words
for a snippet of her voice.
Her absence keeps swinging 
into my frame
like a door 
with a broken latch,
the mysterious spot
in the house
that lets the cold draft in.
In Egypt, they leave 
the mouth of the dead open
to make it easier for the soul
to find fuel in afterlives. 
The first night
she tucked me in a separate bed
mum swore on her mum
she’d always leave both our doors 
a little open. An amber light 
still hums a lullaby 
in the passage 
connecting our rooms.
Did you know grief 
is a multi-use punch card 
with no concession at the end.
Did you know any love song
can become a wail
if you sing it over and 
Imagine this simple tune:
I make my lips wrestle 
each other
in the last smidge of her 
discontinued shade 
and like a test sound 
from a sax
a long hollow note 
deafens the room.


Preeti Vangani is an Indian poet & personal essayist. She is the author of Mother Tongue Apologize (RLFPA Editions), her first book of poems which was the winner of RL India Poetry Prize 2017. Her work has been published in BOAAT, Juked, Gulf Coast, and Threepenny Review among other journals. She is the Asst. Poetry Editor for Glass Journal, a Poet Mentor at Youth Speaks and holds an MFA (Writing) from University of San Francisco. You can find her on Twitter.

Adeet Deshmukh's photo "The Light Above the River" is from  Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan, New York. Adeet sees the world through the relationship between light and shadow, emotion and composition. His photography captures this interplay in the streets of New York City and Mumbai, in the faces of family and strangers, in the fields of Iceland and the Midwest. Looking through a viewfinder or at a smartphone screen brings life into focus, wherever he is. You can find more of his work at his website.

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