Two Poems by Sid Gopinath

Bravery of Brown Bodies Pt. 1

There’s a certain bravery to two brown bodies 

I think 

as your fingertips find long-forgotten scars 

trace imprints of history 

caress babysmooth tomorrow 

a particular courage 

to lie 


on elephant ivory sheets 

it’s a specific beauty 

seeing my molasses brown black eyes reflected back in your own 


I can try at bravery; 

Bodies no longer a coffee stain on tomorrow’s page

but nestled semicolons 

simultaneous winks 

A suspended sentence we can pretend at finishing together

Two Pendants 

I wear my grandmothers around my neck

Two women two pendants two gods I never pray to never ask for help

never even thought were real.

How could they be?

when one is a Hindu and one is a Parsi

when one unravels his trunk and the other sits on golden wings

when one was disowned by my father and the other disowned my mother

or am I getting the story wrong again?

I always get the story wrong

but I never knew the story from the start

or I never knew where to start the story because my story started with two people 

who weren’t supposed to be in love 

who grew up with different gods who spoke different languages whose mothers’ pendants I now

wear around my neck

and what kind of story was that to tell to me at the start?

Instead I was only given names

Amooma and Mamaiji

who? my friends ask

Grandma, you can just call them Grandma.

Hindu and Parsi. No, Parsi. with a p. yes.

a p like part of me

a p like parsi and that d in hindu is hard to say right with my American accent and it’s okay

sometimes I can’t even explain the difference nevermind

You can call them grandma 

and I’ll call them Amooma 

and Mamaiji

And wear them around my neck as gold pendants

I don’t know how to explain away my debt to them

when I don’t speak their languages don’t commune with their gods 

can only pretend at their cultures as I throw colored powder

or haphazardly move to a beat unfamiliar to my American bones

I can only pretend at the sacrifices

that they made

that their children made

so that I may be blissful and ignorant

ignorant and American

american and

I wear them

no more aware than I was before.

But I owe them this

at least.

Sid Gopinath is a multi-disciplinary artist based in New York City. He seeks to tell stories through his art focusing on identity, love, memory, and place. Sid is half of indie r&b duo bluesoul and also writes modern folk music as Cedar Lake.

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