Poem: Rita Banerjee

Iloo for Rita Banerjee's poems.

Birds on Blue

“Is it not sweet to think that, if only you have patience,
all that has ever been will come back to you?” —Isak Dinesen

If liberty were jazz, she’d be waiting
like a crow, keeping crown
on ebony wings, mapping out
America over ocean.

Crow found jazz on an island atoll,
she was praying for China Blue
when it blasted—

Crow’s heart needs a container,
innocence a hearth,
and Little Boy a beat.

Little Boy runs around hen-pen
waiting to crow like
a rooster with his head cut

Crow-bird sallies, keeps the mood

Rooster’s a hand-grenade,
Crow’s trumpet cool,
blue words contain her,

Not Rooster, he’s searching
for a way to speech—

だまれ ! !
He’s up then collapses
on little crow feet.

On fine dark wings,
Crow-bird rehearses,
lets her voice run vertical

over men, over fire, over sea,
when her song finally reaches America,
it thumps a sky glazed porcelain
Rita Banerjee received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard University and her writing has appeared in Electric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, Riot Grrrl Magazine, Poets for Living Waters, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, and on KBOO Radio’s APA Compass. Her novella, A Night with Kali, is forthcoming in 2016, and her first collection of poems, Cracklers at Night, received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book at the 2011–12 Los Angeles Book Festival. Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, she is currently working on a novel and a book of lyric essays.

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