Letter to the Patriarch regarding Application for Absolution

As though changing your name
each time reborn
would absolve you

As though by propitiating Durga
As though by chanting Hail Mary
As though there will be 72 virgins

Footbinder, property bandit, Inquisitor, Ass
No goddess will come
to your fucking after-party

As though there is absolution
for this formula:
drowning equals innocent
surviving equals guilty

Guilty:
Of seducing stars, moon,
sun, earth, life
Of knowing the names
of plants and their uses
Of placing a cool palm
on your fevered brow
Of intimate acquaintance
with the scent of jasmine

Of bearing a girl child
Of letting her hair down

I could go on

Don’t ask about the dead girl
What was she wearing
and did she go nightclubing
None of your business
Don’t tell me how her
aspirations frightened you

Ingrate
Yes, you who have danced
on the graves of my sisters
Your name carries
the density of Osmium
and the haunting
of a million ghosts

If it’s absolution you seek
next time come back
as She

Bionote:

Margaret Mascarenhas is a transnational novelist, essayist and poet of Indian, Native American, Dutch and French descent whose work focuses on pushing the boundaries of race, gender, genre and resistance. She is the author of the diasporic novels Skin, set in colonial India and The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos, set in Venezuela, where she grew up. She has published one volume of poetry and sketches, Triage–casualties of love and sex. She is currently working on a third novel , set partly in the Middle East, a collection of short stories, and a second collection of poetry titled This is how you fix what is broken.  She divides her time between Goa, India, and Ponte de Lima , Portugal.

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Margaret Mascarenhas
Margaret Mascarenhas is a transnational novelist, essayist and poet of Indian, Native American, Dutch and French descent whose work focuses on pushing the boundaries of race, gender, genre and resistance. She is the author of the diasporic novels Skin, set in colonial India and The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos, set in Venezuela, where she grew up. She has published one volume of poetry and sketches, Triage--casualties of love and sex. She is currently working on a third novel , set partly in the Middle East, a collection of short stories, and a second collection of poetry titled This is how you fix what is broken.  She divides her time between Goa, India, and Ponte de Lima , Portugal.

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