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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Jagari Mukherjee is a poet and writer from Kolkata, India. She has an MA in English Literature from the University of Pune, and was awarded a gold medal and several prizes by the University for excelling in her discipline. Her writings, both poetry and prose, have appeared in several newspapers, magazines, journals, anthologies, and blogs. Her first book, a collection of poems entitled Blue Rose, was published in May 2017 by Bhashalipi. She is DAAD scholar (2005), Bear River 2018 alumna, and winner of the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2018 (book review).

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