Poetry from Prerna Bakshi

What’s the name of your pind?

(First published in The Ofi Press)


He asks me which pind
do I belong to?

Confused, I respond by telling him
the names of my grandfather’s and grandmother’s village.

He interjects, her’s not necessary. Your belonging, your identity, your pind is traced through the pind of your father and his father and so on, you see.

I say nothing, and just nod.In the blink of an eye, my grandmother’s history was deemed irrelevant. Erased.

History belongs to victors, they say.
Clearly, she had lost.

Her past, torn
like it was an unwanted page from the book of history.

Her clung together memories
got flushed down the toilet like a clump of hair stuck in the comb.

What is her pind, then?
What is her home country?

Or is she a traveling soul?
A wandering Sufi?

An escaped soldier?
An absconded convict?

A fugitive?
A refugee?

If she had no home to claim as her own,
which borders did she cross then?

To what extent did she even cross any, if at all?
What was her supposed ‘home’?

Or was there even any?


(First published in the Sick Lit Magazine)


My Uncle tells me when the calls
for Partition filled the anxious air,
everything was up for partition,
not just the land.
Nothing remained outside
its purview.
Everything was to be partitioned.
Including water.

On a railways platform,
shouts of Hindu water, Muslim water
could be heard as fleeing refugees
searched through their ragged pockets
to fish out a few coins in exchange for water.
The journey was long. Not everyone
made it to the other side

Those who did had their thirst quenched
but what about the water? What quenched its thirst?
If water could speak,
it would confess its thirst.
Its thirst for peace.
Thirst for sanity.
Thirst for to leave it
the fuck alone.


(First published in Peril magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture)

A broken glass bangle
laying on the street
asks more questions than it answers

An abandoned home
situated right in the middle of the neighborhood
asks more questions than it answers

A segregated neighborhood
that eludes the naked eye
asks more questions than it answers

Broken glass bangles, abandoned homes, segregated neighborhoods,
all legacies of the Partition
Partition – asks more questions than it answers


Prerna Bakshi is a writer, poet and activist. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of the recently released book, Burnt Rotis, With Love, which was long-listed for the 2015 Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in the UK. Her work has been published widely, most recently in The Ofi PressRed Wedge Magazine, Off the Coast, TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism and Peril magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Cultureas well as anthologized in several collections. More here – http://prernabakshi.strikingly.com/