When I Die by Prerna Bakshi

Will my body be buried or burnt on a pyre? I ask this in a hushed voice. As I lay there dead, lifeless, will kalma be recited or mantras be chanted? I ask this in a hushed voice. Will the mourners be arriving dressed in all black or will they mourn me dressed in all white? Will they claim right to ownership, will they fight, will they hold knives to each other’s throats over my cold, inert dead body laying there motionless, all exposed, mouth wide open, like it wishes to scream, eyes to the skies, as if asking the heavens to intervene. I ask this in a hushed voice. In a hushed voice I ask, when they come to take away my body, will they divide it into pieces, rip it into half? I, then, say resoundingly, what difference does it make? Aren’t they doing it already?

Liminal dawn—
between night and day…
envy of both

Prerna Bakshi is a Macao-based sociolinguist, writer and translator. Her work has previously been published in over two dozen journals and magazines,mostrecentlyin Whirlwindmagazine,WildernessHouseLiterary Review, Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature, Misfit MagazineandPeril magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture.Her full- length poetry collection, Burnt Rotis, With Love, is forthcoming from Les Éditions du Zaporogue. She tweets at: @bprerna