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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 50 New Delhi December 1, 2018

To Meena Alexander (1951-2018)

Sunday 2 December 2018

Your childhood shuttled between India and Sudan,

With your metrologist father, mother and sisters—Anna and Elizabeth;

You chose to live in America,

Homeless, yet at home in three continents. 

Your way with words

Walked you towards

Your own way in the world;

Draupadi in my kitchen,

Undraped then redraped

in Manhattan;

Who said Alexander the Great

Conquered the world?

It was you Meena,

With your dark eyes flashing with insight,

Swathed sensuously in a flaming orange sari, 

you enchanted the world

With your grandma’s bitter-root tea,

The white-washed courtyard

And kolam designs,

All the while fragrantly invading

The corridors of university

And America’s galleries

With words that would not confine the spirit

And redefined immigria.

Sagari Chhabra

(award-winning author and film-maker)

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