Jagari Mukherjee

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PLAYMATE

As kids, you and I
Loved red paper lanterns
And exquisite Japanese dolls.
In winters, we decorated
Our flower vases
With chrysanthemums the color
Of tiny pink cakes.
In summers our fathers
Took us to drink
Green mango sorbet
At the same quaint little joint.
Springs and autumns were
The times for new clothes
During festivals as even trees
Turned fashion-conscious
And flaunted their dresses.

Strange that we never met as kids—
Not in this life, anyway.
I wonder if I have known you
In other lives before in kindergarten,
When you were my favorite playmate.
Perhaps we decorated chrysanthemums
Together in one flower vase.

GROWING UP

A box of perfumes
Gifted to mom made me want
To ditch my crayons.

I wish to become
Like her—a refined woman
In georgette saris.

Only then could I
Access the mini perfumes
In mother’s cupboard.

Growing up seemed then
The most desirable end
For a girl of ten.

Now I have my own
Perfumes in a box, and yet
I miss my crayons.

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A gold medalist in English Literature from University of Pune, Jagari Mukherjee is an award-winning bilingual poet, writer, and critic from Kolkata, India. Her writings have appeared or are forthcoming in Plum Tree Tavern, Labyrinthine Passages, Duane’s PoeTree, Vox Poetica, Margutte, Tuck Magazine, Setu, Night Garden Journal, Scarlet Leaf Review, and others. She was an attendee at the prestigious Bear River Writers’ Conference 2018 in Michigan, US and won the Best Reviewer award by the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize Committee (2018) for her review of Kiriti Sengupta’s Dreams of the Sacred and the Ephemeral (2017).

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