Nandini Dhar

Map Pointing At Dawn

When we tear the petals of polash with the edges of our fingernails,
we are claw-marking our ways into a history of rust, from which

the little girls are to be kept buttoned up. A night-storm is carving
the polash-petals; manipulating the effulgence of a bruised sun

to fashion its crimson. Ghost Uncle is a calligrapher who cannot hold
a pen between his fingers. This is just a sentence in this history of rust

we are trying to creep in. This history of crimson petals illustrated
with upturned nails, secret rooms at the back of a police station: interrogation.

But Ghost Uncle is sculpting a polash: chiselling it out of the threads
of a flag torn right through the middle. My sister is chewing

on her fingernails, and would continue to chew until it hurts.
When his cuticles begin to bleed, Ghost Uncle would buy her a globe.

From then on, they will spend the early mornings together, counting
the unnamed graves in our backyard. If you learn anything by observing

them, it is this: not all flowers can be folded. Folded into origami
cranes, their ghosts chased out by fingers memorizing craft and diligence. 

Nandini Dhar

Nandini Dhar is the author of the chapbook Lullabies Are Barbed Wire Nations (Two of Cups Press, 2014). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in PANK, Los Angeles ReviewTusculum Review, New South and elsewhere. She is the co-editor of the journal Elsewhere. Nandini hails from Kolkata, India, and divides her time between her hometown and Miami, Florida, where she works as an Assistant Professor of English at Florida International University.