Saudade

By DIPIKA MUKHERJEE

Itaparica, Brazil
Itaparica, Brazil

The voluptuousness of misery

—Machado de Assis

In Itaparica, the beach broods
under ruddy sky. Two fishermen
and I search waves spitting
shells: ribbed green, a crown
for a queen; a conch; an obelisk;
a whorled shell; a thin swell
pink modica of a disc.

I wash the five in running water.
The pink slithers through fingers
fragmented it lingers …
                                      disappears.

A wound reappears
periodically swelling
voluptuous
                  with memory.

 

Dipika Mukherjee is the author of the novels Shambala Junction, which won the UK Virginia Prize for Fiction, and Ode to Broken Things, which was longlisted for the Man Asia Literary Prize. Her work is included in The Best Small Fictions 2019 and she frequently writes for World Literature Today, Asia Literary Review and Chicago Quarterly Review as well as a literary column for The Edge in Malaysia. She was a Sacatar Foundation Fellow in Itaparica, Brazil, in 2019.

Photo by the author. 

Saudade

Related Posts

Tree

Nights of a Thousand Candles

EMMA AYLOR
There are probably more candles than that, in fact, / but only half glow; the rest float dumbly, arranged / in their circular pools, rain specked inside the glass. / An unlit candle at night smacks of abandon.

Image of almonds pouring from a glass bowl.

Reina María Rodríguez: Poems in Translation

REINA MARÍA RODRÍGUEZ
Naturally, Flaubert’s parrot / could not be called Chucho, / his author wouldn’t stick him / with a name like that. / From which follows the importance of names. / But in the stories last night / —the reconstruction of a postcard / which we were creating...

Image of hill, river, and houses.

Joss

PATRICIA LIU
Paper is thin. In the beginning, still billows in the wind, still petal-like, still grounded in this world / of living. The incense is the only material that translates the viscera to mist. Early, the fog has not yet / lifted, and we move through the white drip as if through total darkness. Fish lost in the deep under- / water.