My Mother Calls Me Circe: A Dream Vision

Mitali Khanna Sharma

the archaeologist demands a beginning –– 
I propose the irrational. he says no –– 
it must begin at the beginning ––
I laugh: tell him the dirt is restless and the dirty must bathe: 
so we did.
his bath.                      my steeple.                  a feather, a pomegranate: her scrawling. 
               six ilaichi.                      two laung.                         
adrak – both skin & substance. in my sleep, I extend my neck to bear 
this night: a remembrance of my mother
& her dusty lips: the ascension of her mother marries
a dusty punjabi moon mama. in the pot, his eyes –– 
crossed by the shadows of those hanging
from the kitchen ceiling. the feathered pomegranates knowledge: 
these insides: they converse:
with these outsides. later on. I hear him recount to the lawyer ––
the insides may converse with the outsides. 
I laugh. 

a word miss: the wanting of the pomegranate: how to admit this humpbacked blanket to those who cradled: how to convey it was not the cradle that broke: the worm reveals itself to be a dancer: the wanting of the pomegranate and its flesh: thank you for our misshapen bodies: you are welcome

the worm reveals itself to be a dancer 
& his eyes –– open & crossed by the shadows mutter –– ghost, ghostly, aghast!
miss – you must get your ghosts out of this               space. I speak 
to the worm: return when he has finished 
his excavation: the worm listens.                   the next mourning, 
I work the mortar and pestle: my fingers kneading skin
in moonlight. a siren wails on the street. 
I speak to her: we will knead skin (in moonlight!) when the archaeologist has finished 
his excavation. a wolf,
or some traumatized creature,
enters: demands a pomegranate seed: I cry
when the archaeologist has finished his excavation. she paws:
the water’s face as my skin seeks a home,
bloody, in between her canines. she                           collapses –– 
the archaeologist wipes his gun. on his guns. 
miss, where did this wild creature come from? 
I will tell your story. so you can tell me. I tell him
the irrational. he says no stories are irrational ––
I laugh: weeping takes time: and he says there is work. 
to be done.  

the water’s face: it weeps: oh, how sad!: how to admit this humpbacked blanket to those who cradled: how to convey it was not the cradle that broke: the feathered and the pomegranate: how to converse without his hearing: a movement of limbs: an arm, a limb, a dance: oh, how spooky: to protest like this.

I cover the pot.
wipe my hand on these 
ragged skirts and ragged breaths and ragged braid 
while he dusts an artifact from the living
room. the cub enters with a movement 
(of limbs): demands a pomegranate seed. I tell her! 
when the archaeologist has finished his 
excavation! just imagine –                  the water:
its ionic sigh:              its trepid flesh:            its tepid bath:                          she collapses. 
the archaeologist wipes his gun. on his guns. 
miss – why are your native milkweeds now skeletons? 
dehydration: it’s spooky! I laugh. weeping 
takes more time: and he says there is work
(to be done). 

the hearth!: a welding (im)mortal: shifts from moon to moon: the singing: beloveds: beloveds: beloved(s): we make no sense: of chloroplast’s plasticity: how to admit the humpbacked blanket to those who cradled: how to convey it was not the cradle that broke: how to tell of the archaeologist: the singing: fire is a fluid, too

the archaeologist emerges – miss, 
I have found your story and your mother 
has a story too, oh, how linear ––
I laugh and bid him farewell. I shut the door:
return to the kitchen: imagine the hearth: 
a welding immortal! over the dirty vessel: 
I weep and the ghosts return to me, some sort
of nectar dripping from their wounds. we 
stand over the pot and let the sweetness of the sick enter
the water’s face: it moves – 
we drink                      and sleep                     like dervishes – 

clad in white circles. 


Mitali Khanna Sharma is an Indian-American writer from St. Louis, Missouri. She is currently studying English and Environmental Studies in New York City. Recently, her work has been published in Zeniada Magazine, A Velvet Giant, and Five:2:One. She is passionate about the interconnectivity of life forms, socio-environmental justice, and finding strength in softness. Find her on instagram @mitalikhannasharma