Excerpts from DesiLit Magazine Issue #6

Martha by Janice Goveas
When she was turning four, I asked her if she was sure she was ready to sleep in her own bed. She responded with a sidelong glance and a tolerant toss of her head. “I’ve done it before, Mama.” Then she saw the look in my eyes that she will someday recognize as the pain of a tearing umbilical cord, and she relented. “But I promise I’ll go back to your bed if the monsters come back under mine.” She stuttered a little back then, and in the year since has learned to slow down her speech so that her mouth can keep up with her language, which is much older than her years. She wears gold butterflies in her ears, has learned a near-perfect plié in dance class; bestows equal adoration on Barbie, Dora and Spiderman; and when I blast the music of the Gypsy Kings through our apartment, she swings her hips with me as we go about our day…

The Fruit Basket by Sumita Lall

Divi was tired of American prospects.

There was something perverse about the way Amit tossed around his “Absolutely!”, a term that had itself become obscene in recent years, excessively dropped in mundane references to the weather—”Nice day.” “Absolutely!”—and touted as a penultimate expression of enthusiasm, an American obsession with false assurances that the world could no longer tolerate or patrol.

It was clear to her that this man possessed enthusiasm neither for the weather nor for both their parents’ desperate pleas that they indulge this collective fantasy of border-crossed romance. In fact, the latest venture involved her family’s trip to Detroit for the delivery of a gift to Amit’s family, a kind of apology for Divi’s shunning of this shining candidate a year ago…

Because I have my mother’s heels by Maryam Afam

Jannah (Paradise) is under a mother’s feet

—Saying of the Prophet Muhammad

And I wonder

what have I done

to deserve my mother’s heels

besides not moisturize my feet

ever?

I did not push five babies out of my body

raise them to adulthood

I never stood in kitchens…

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