by Meena Alexander postcolonialism

  • starts with a memory

  • references Heart of Darkness

    • references characters from it (she calls herself Marlow and Kurtz)
    • how she has learnt the colonizer’s language and education
  • her self-doubt, imposter syndrome

    • they manifest as a Mahakavi from a temple or a man in white flannels who is unerringly English
  • identity crisis

  • dichotomy

    • violence of language
  • books sit between Gandhi’s Experiment with Truth, and a crown of thorns brought by a visiting pastor

  • displacement, dislocation

I was Marlowe and Kurtz and still more a black woman just visible at the shore. I thought it’s all happened all happened before

”You think you write poetry! Hey you —” as he sidestepped me dressed neatly in his jurta and dhoti a mahakavi from the temples of right thought.

Or one in white flannels unerringly English lured from Dove Cottage transfixed by carousels of blood

In dreams I was child babbling at the gate splitting into two, three to make herself safe.

Tom and Bess kids from the book used to teach her English

These lines took decades to etch free, the heart’s illiterate. The map is torn.