A Visit to India From America: Watching the Garba (Folk) Dance
In tropic wind, drapes
caress brown skin with silk. I press against the window grates.
Leaning into heavy Bombay black of night, I breathe foreign air,
my native land. Below me music shatters peace. Annoying folk,
snaps my aunt. They always garba dance. I strain to see.
A hole torn in frayed fabric
masking as a roof reveals flickering feet and a kaleidoscope of
cloth. Past luster of hues is now restored on fire-lit forms
spinning into trance. Broken beads adorn ankles more of bones than
flesh. Colored stones flash as legs, immersed in dirt, beat time
to wooden drums. Calloused, withered skin, worn and blistered
heels withstand the dance.
Their weaving feet leave
wavy patterns in the dust, their motions intoxicating me. I
retract. Their simple circle dance excludes. No world is mine.
SHUBHA VENUGOPAL is completing her MFA at Bennington College. She also holds a PhD in English and will soon be teaching at California State University, Northridge. She lives with her husband and two beautiful children - a toddler daughter and infant son. Her works are forthcoming or have appeared in
Post Road, Gambara, The Angler, VerbSap, Flashquake, Literary Mama, Boston Literary Magazine, Elimae, Eclectica, Mslexia,
Kalliope, and Women Writers: A Zine.
has also appeared in Kalliope, where it was a finalist in
the 2000 Sue Saniel Elkind Poetry Competition.*