Reflections on home, foreign places and the body

Through cotton fibres 

The foreign bread
of a motorbike sandwich 
behind husband and wife
I find myself tripling 
loud waving from the side 
as my dupatta, always uneven
dances close to death 
with the wheel 
a dhanyavaad(1) slide her way  
in return
I lift her up and wrap my head
wind carries her over my eyes 
I watch through cotton fibers 
gauzed vision
sun hitting the frame 
an all-sense ignition  
territory unknown 
and do I miss home?
I really don’t know 
European stock 
from stolen lands 
yet this unknown 
the lost in translation 
the discomfort 
the un-learning 
wistfully seeps 
submerges my core  

 (1) Thank you in Hindi (phonetically spelt out using the English alphabet)

The heart of elegance

I used to think it was 
in dainty movements
for aesthetics not functionality
in verbose language, pristine fabrics 
in silence induced by restraint 
in flowers that don’t function beyond beauty
in emotions that are suffocated inside  
until I journeyed to there and came to know 
the movements of hand to mouth 
for sustenance 
the ways of sitting connected to the ground 
for eating, cooking, cleaning
the careful cleaning of a dish 
with minimal water and maximum effect 
the manner of catching water in the hand 
and swiftly cleaning the face 
drinking from a bottle 
without touching the mouth to it 
as it will be passed to many more 
the heart of elegance 
so far from the material 
no parade
no expedition or arrogant display
just a way of living where sharing is central 
a blooming organic elegance 
humble essence 

I don’t end here 

I take the time to 
sit quietly
no longer a wild thrashing
relentless creature
able to take in the sounds
of constant evolution 
the building of a fire
flames that dance wildly
but without heat 
before they envelop the wood
heat rising
as they drop into a low glow 
not to be confused
with feeble
as they burn blue
without wood to consume
fading into embers 
bright orange 
a fall away from cold 
I am reminded that
my body does not end
at my fingertips 
here my body is not about
outlines and symmetry
or even having all my 
parts as I could still live
even if one dies 
but if the flames no longer burn
if the air no longer feeds them
if the air is unbreathable
the water undrinkable 
the land unstable 
then I can’t go on 
and that’s how I know
that I don’t end 

About the contributor

Bree Alexander (also Lika Posamari) writes poetry and more in or between Melbourne and New Delhi. She was shortlisted for the Overland Fair Australia Prize 2018 (NTEU category) and has a poetry chapbook The eye as it inhales onions. Bree is also a member and facilitator with Transcollaborate. She sporadically blogs at and tweets @LaBree_A. Author Photo @k.c.leong_photography

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