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Shalini Rana

Haibun for Sneh स्नेह

Gloria Steinem tells me in an Instagram post baggage is biography; we are what we carry and I think of lost countries, the luggage to our name: grandfather’s [x] dollars he entered America with, the gilded promise in his heart. Junk-jammed suitcases I lug to India only to leave behind, carry less for the return trip home. And grandmother in Kansas at seventeen, swallowed up by her sari. How it swept her across flat quiet lands. Dress as baggage, biography on our sun-brown bodies. I bring hair ties wherever I go, wear one on my wrist so I can speak to my female ancestors through hair. Maybe this, our shared beauty. I wonder about the braiding of biographies in the flat lands of our bodies. How I never knew these women, never needed to outside of story. Save for a photo of her, sari-clad and with the tiger she hunted draped at her feet, I can’t say what my great-grandmother looked like, can’t hear the lines etched in her face. Know only that her name means Love, deep and shrewd like a desert. How I’ll find myself, how I’ll find myself, find myself in it—:

loose-eyed night scrolling
across screen of white neon
searching for bright posts


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