“Canescent” by Jagari Mukherjee


These mornings, I wake to find
silver threads in my hair —
gleaming as if dipped
in the winter moon.

I have always loved
oxidized ornaments and grey pullovers;
but now, afraid of canescent
I fantasize about a smooth cinnamon coverage.

I tell my dad: let me get highlights.
And so on I press.
(No, this looks beautiful, Dad says.)


(Dad asks: Do you want your strands to be stained
bright-red like paan* juice’?)

My imagination turns loose.

I ponder into a salt-seasoned mulberry fruit.
I conjure up watery chiaroscuro skies
of the collective unconscious.
The silkworm, an outsider,
would have preferred a mulberry leaf.

I realize I live under ancient oaks.
My hair has shades of experience now, I guess.

(Yes, it does, and this looks lovely: Dad says).



Jagari Mukherjee is a poet and writer from Kolkata, India. She has an MA in English Literature from 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 a DAAD scholar (2005), Best of the Net 2018 nominee, a Bear River 2018 alumna, and the winner of the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2018 for book review.

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