By Sid Gopinath
Bravery of Brown Bodies Pt. 1
There’s a certain bravery to two brown bodies
as your fingertips find long-forgotten scars
trace imprints of history
caress babysmooth tomorrow
a particular courage
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
A suspended sentence we can pretend at finishing together
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 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
I wear them
no more aware than I was before.
But I owe them this
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.