I am – Mandira Pattnaik

held afloat by paper. More than anything else.
So when proof of my being,
in paper trails, hound me, stalk me like lovers, I know
this is what I am
my life wringed into this residue.

here. More than anywhere else.
Not where my mum came from, dodging scythes that
fanatics raised over religion. Or was it
dogmatism? Mum had no papers when she crossed over,
and there, look! under the tall grass is where she lay
without a tomb.

like the laundry left out to dry.
Never did. It always rained. My paper boats, large and showy, and my animals, origami hats,
marveled fellows at the Home. But I never belonged. I didn’t have
conversations. Or papers. Laminated ones, framed ones, those that
told you whether you knew any grammar, or if you were a lord or a pauper.

the wind that kisses the pinwheel. Red and green filament paper.
The face of a sun, without names or borders.
After years, I am asked again. Yes! I’m
an illegal alien from
nowhere. Or everywhere.
And throw spite and confetti at them.

Mandira_PattnaikMandira Pattnaik is pained at the chipping away of tolerance in the world. She writes both poetry and prose, some of which have ended up in places like The Times of India, Eclectica, Spelk, Commuterlit, RuncibleSpoon, DoorIsAJar, (Mac)ro(mic), FictionBerlin, Lunate and others.





(Editor’s Note: Software limitations prevented us from rendering the second-stanza line, “Never did. It always rained … and my animals, origami hats” on one line. We apologize for the shortcoming.)