Join The Dillydoun Review in celebrating National Poetry Month with
A Poem by Anita Nahal
Petals adorn my broken self and like our Native ancestors I search for the tale in each. Seeking the shadows of animals that stood with us. Seeking the brothers and sisters that fought with us. The crackling of winter fires that sheltered us. Some have roamed the world, seeing, sprouting, waning and passing into dimensions inside us where we go when others treat us different. Don’t shake your head and offer pity over my amputated legs. Ask instead, what, where, why they walked, kicked, dragged and slumped upon. How a warrior I was born. Don’t nod in understanding without looking straight into my eyes which still sparkle in my guillotined head on the butcher block. How a warrior I was re born. Don’t put your arms around mine without feeling the compacted air that extends beyond my shredded joints. How a warrior I was born, again and again and again.
Don’t offer to cover me up with your tainted blanket. With your prude coat. With your carefully sculpted sentences pulling a spoof that you are wise. Don’t smirk at distances between loves. Don’t try walking on my footprint’s ashes still smoldering. Don’t look for my hands to clasp to tell a joint story. Don’t. Don’t. Just watch. Just watch as my remaining petals keep disappearing. Watch the air around you solidify. Watch the ground beneath you harden like metamorphic rocks. Watch till I become a whisper at the end of the last drop of water. And then, you can scream.
Anita Nahal, Ph.D., CDP is a professor, poet, short story writer, and children’s writer. She teaches at the University of the District of Columbia, Washington DC. Anita has two books of poetry, one of flash fictions, four for children and two edited poetry anthologies and one edited nursery rhymes anthology. Her third book of poetry is set for release in December 2021 by Kelsay Books. Originally from New Delhi, India, she is the daughter of novelist Chaman Nahal and educationist Sudarshan Nahal. She lives in the US with her son, daughter-in-law and golden doodle. For more: https://anitanahal.wixsite.com/anitanahal