To Celebrate Myself
(A tribute to Whitman's Leaves of Grass) To celebrate myself, and sing myself I breathe quietly by the memory of the sea and the sand of breezy evenings while you call to the earth and the sea half-held by the night. I hold the nights of my heart in my palms with as much love as a blade of grass. Is the full moon tipped blue? I am Selene herself, the moon goddess-- I cradle the round crystal moonshine with stars in my hair like gems. To celebrate myself and sing myself I join you as you lean and loaf with ease. I give you my apple-blossomed earth. Even I must undress and have a turn with the sea -- you did say that it is as great to be a woman as to be a man.
Is it the shiny green skirt I have since fourteen that I refuse to give away? Or the cramps every month from the age of nine? (Mine. Old faithful souvenirs, my companions of a zillion years?) I wonder how soon my body will betray. I am not the monarch of all I survey as I grow old. The peaches in my Bhutanese garden I have not seen for decades, and the era has not been green always. You left as life took its toll, and I still accepted it all. Tonight I shall paint my nails a dazzling gold to celebrate our separateness. Tomorrow I will plant a peach tree just to watch it grow, and grow old.
Jagari Mukherjee is a poet, editor, and reviewer based in Kolkata, India. She has authored three collections of poetry, a chapbook and two full-length volumes. Her latest solo book, The Elegant Nobody, was published by Hawakal Publishers in January 2020. Her e-book Wine-Kissed Poems (2020), co-authored with Dr. Ampat Koshy, was an Amazon No. 1 bestseller. Her poems and other creative pieces have been published in different venues both in India and abroad. She is a gold medalist in English Literature, a Best of the Net 2018 nominee, DAAD scholar from Technical University, Dresden, Germany, and a Bear River Writers’ Conference alumna. She is the winner of the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2018 for Book Review, Poeisis Award for Excellence in Poetry 2019, and also the recipient of Reuel International Prize for Poetry 2019, among other awards. She recently won the Women Empowered Gifted Poet Award (Powerful Emergent Voice). Jagari is the Founder and Chief Executive Editor of the literary journal, EKL Review.