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

Palm tree and building at dusk

Monsoon

URVI KUMBHAT
From my window I see a boy shaking the bougainvillea / for flowers. My parents talk of pruning it. They talk / of little else. The tree, spilling wildly past our house into / the gulley—where boys come to smoke or piss.

Image of Sewer Bed Beach

Effluent of the Affluent

MARY BERGMAN
We are losing this place twice over: first to money, and then to sea. There are ways to quantify these losses: only 3,200 bushels of scallops were caught this past winter and more than $2 billion in real estate transactions were recorded last year. My parents aren’t sure where they should be buried.

The Hundertwasser House in Vienna

Etude No. 2 and Etude No. 3

KIM CURTS MATTHEUSSENS
in Rome a monumental marble typewriter / ticked out their story into the sky: two lovers / devour time. she lay on the lawn near Trajan's / column. he plucked letters from her dress, / her hair, served them to her by hand, by mouth.