it all starts with a ship and bones at the bottom of the kala pani.
My mother adamantly calls herself “Indian”
“ee mark suh on meh birth certificate! guh check!”
I tell her, I guess it’s up to her what she is to herself
but I will never be “Indian.”
She’s never been to India, never dreams of it really, and shudders at returning to Guyana.
I long for the day I can see where I came from.
–where is that though? I think I was forged in the water
generations before dreaming of birth.
She names my sister Diana, after the princess
“Oh, I loved her. She was so beautiful.”
My sister carries with her a legacy of the legacy of my
great great great –i don’t know how many “greats”– grandmother’s colonizers
No one says a word about it. (they have taken our words)
I call her Dee, a sort of play on the “didi!”
we heard in Bollywood movies growing up
and something all my own.
My guidance counselor tells me I should write my college essay
on sharing a bed with my sister.
(the request strikes me as presumptuous)
But I will always remember how I felt at college–
having a stranger’s bed, and one all my very own.
When I come home again, I say,
I don’t think I ever want to share a bed ever again.
Everyone laughs and exclaims,
“When yuh married, yuh guh change yuh chune!”
They take my silence as obedience.