Meeta Chatterjee is a lecturer in academic language and literacy in Learning Development, University of Wollongong. Her academic and professional interests lie in the area of doctoral research and writing. She has written about humour in Indian women writing in English for her Masters thesis. She has been writing poems for decades, but has only published occasionally. She enjoys the challenges of creating multisensory images to tell a story.
Those who saw her go, deny that she was naked.
She tugged the sky off the clothesline, wrapped it
round herself and walked into the river-they said.
Fourteen days later lamps and rumours flared
on the banks of the Ganges.
Fishermen say that she strides into the village
stark naked, on full moon nights.
She ignores offers of clothes,
ties her wet hair into a bun
and walks past the living.
Some say she visits the temple, clangs
the bells to crescendo and then
dissolves into the flame of an oil lamp.
Others have seen her behind the abandoned house
beckoning drunken gamblers.
“Very unbecoming of a Brahmin girl-even in death”,
they shake their heads.
Others claim that they have seen her big with child
waving her voice at the wind—
her songs naked too.
In her own home, no one speaks of her.
They’ve blacked out her pictures from family albums
and scrubbed her off collective memories.
But on some cold winter evenings, when the sound of the conch
scatters and scatters
through the incense-filled prayer room
images of my dead eighteen –year old aunt dance
on grandma’s eye-lashes
asking to be grieved.
Landscape: Travelling Through South Australia
The coastline disappears-bewitching in its flouncy, racy skirts and the
promise of bare skin.
The smell of the rainforest and the seeds in the shade is memory.
The sky is a chalice, upturned on land –the last drop gone.
Occasionally the soil desperate for seed and water
parts its itchy legs
stealthily to irrigation and grows guiltily pubic.
But mainly, the land blisters and throws up dead animals on the veins of roads.
Bones jutting, skin broken and broken again, the land endures the sun
roaring its orange pulp of heat.
At nightfall, the sky and land meet like wounded saints- too tired to sleep.
‘Erasure’ and ‘Landscape: Travelling through South Australia’ were published in The Journal of Literature and Aesthetics in 2004.