poetry

Printers Row, Chicago
- Dipika Mukherjee

I come to Chicago
resisting assimilation.

From old cities in Europe
to the older ruins of Asia,
I have resisted the hyphenations
the identity reconstructions,
of tired-huddled-masses,
in this adulterated corner
of the globe.

Until, in Printer's Row
– in an antiquarian bookshop,
red-bricked from 1896 –
a man reads from the distressed
first edition of the Rime, hardcover
separated from spine, stark lines drawn
above an idle ship on a painted ocean;
He knows Tagore, and on his desktop
is the image of Waheeda,
incandescent beauty.

He talks about translators,
epics, New York broadsides;
In that tiny shop, laying bare the
Nuances – the proclivity of
Imagination – of this brave new world.

Dipika Mukherjee is an author, poet, and sociolinguist. She made her debut as a novelist with the publication of Thunder Demons (Gyaana Books: 2011, long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize). Rubicon Press (Canada) published her first poetry collection, The Palimpsest of Exile, in 2009. Her work has been widely anthologized and appears in World Literature Today, Asia Literary Review, The South Asia Review, Del Sol Review, Out of Print, Muse India, and Postcolonial Text among others. More information at www.dipikamukherjee.com