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Image by Vadim Fomenok

Till there were no stars

In the dream, the devis were different –

dancing with arms out, breasts

to the wind, glorious. It was so obvious

they owned the earth.

Who could have created them?

Each one laughing larger

than the other, echoes like shots

fired to the horizon, remarkable blue

of expansion. No tree in sight, the night

then nothing. Me and my girlfriends

paused at the clearing. Hands by our thighs,

eyes blinking. We could not believe it.

Did our mothers know? Did our grandmothers?

The devis in their temples were small –

hands laden with food or flowers.

And where were the gods – the husbands?

Where were the children? Were we allowed

such freedom? The night

was our class 12th farewell party,

dressed in our favourite sarees,

hot pink and jazz, ready for the world

under the Saket mall, the stuffy basement

of mocktails and men’s armpits.

Could we stay? Here, in this vision?

DJ devi yelled to the others – Come on!

She swerved and the circle expanded.

Our hair was itchy – in we melted –

copying their steps, mirroring

their breaths, our long singing necks.

Kuhu joshi.jpg

Kuhu Joshi is a poet from New Delhi. She received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, where she was a recipient of the Jane Cooper Poetry Fellowship and was awarded an honorable mention for the John B. Santoianni Award by the Academy of American Poets. Her poem “Raag Desh” was selected by guest editor Paula Bonhice for the 2022 Best New Poets anthology. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Rattle, Black Fork Review, Memorious, Yearbook of Indian Poetry, The Bombay Literary Magazine, and elsewhere.  She currently teaches in New York City.

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