Poetry | ‘A Courtesan’ by Mandakini Bhattacherya | Issue 41 (May, 2021)


Tum-ta, ta-thaiyya,
the ghungroo resonates;
the floor is the chandelier
that breaks into myriad pieces of light.
The green of my zari gown
tugs at the green of my envy
as I watch the naaz, kham,
lachak, every graceful move
of the trainee courtesan.
Mornings are now a sharp peck
by the parrot on my finger
that draws blood, the only
red I’ll ever know.

ghungroo – a dancer’s heavy anklet bells
naaz, kham, lachak – grace of movement
In India, wearing red signifies a married woman.

Mandakini Bhattacherya, from Kolkata, is currently an Associate Professor of English at Fakir Chand College, affiliated with the University of Calcutta in West Bengal, India. She is a multi-lingual poet composing in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Bengali, literary critic and translator. Her scholarly articles have been published in international and national journals, and also in books. Her poems have been published by international and national journals like Better Than Starbucks, The Dotism Journal, The HyperTexts, Poetry Nation, Mad Swirl Magazine, Setu Magazine, Muse India, Hayati, Sahityanama, Different Truths and LangLit. She was invited by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi and participated in the All India Young Writers’ Meet organised by it in February, 2020. She is Associate Editor of the MUSE OF NOW PARADIGM anthology published in 2020.


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