I whispered to my Self, by Dani Moscovitch

I whispered to my Self, “Remember this forever” even though I knew I wouldn’t and I know I won’t.

I slid my big toe through the murky banks of Lake Pichola, tracing sitar melodies in the sand. “Don’t forget this feeling. Recall the touch of the cool waters. Memorize the patterns your foot makes on the surface as you swirl it ever so slowly in the shape of Mother India”
Well I swirled until I’d tattooed Her up my calves down my arms over under through my open palms dyed my fingertips with my will Not to Forget. Don’t Forget. Don’t Forget.
“Hold on to the face of Hanuman. fill your nose with his warm, sticky marigold chains and Don’t exhale. look into those coconut eyes and Do Not blink. then ring the bell and kiss your knees to the altar and touch your henna’d palms fingertips heartbeats together and Never Let Go” because the priest said no photographs allowed. hold the taste of Bedla Mataa on your tongue and drink the air thick with sandalwood incense and sweet sweet havla offerings but Do Not Swallow.
Because if you do, you’ll digest it.
And then you’ll lose Her.

Remember to Breathe.
Breathe.
Breathe.

Breathe slowly and deeply and convert the thick Indian oxygen into Thick Indian Blood and pump it through your veins to your brain to your endoplasmic reticulum to your round sequined bindi gifted by your host mom to your Indian bedspread back at home to your Indian novels stacked tall teetering unbalanced on your desk in the United States, so far so far now, to your stomach muscles converting paneer masala into energy, to your big thumping foreign heart. Breathe and don’t stop breathing. Pump and don’t stop pumping until the blood gets stuck in that vital teetering wide-open organ of yours and then distributes it all over under through your body. Until she is with you, she is in you, and you won’t have to remember or forget or write poems about the Mother Who is Not Yours and Never Will Be despite a summer of swirling and breathing and swallowing even though I didn’t want to swallow.
I didn’t want to swallow.
Keep Breathing and she’ll stay with you, even when you’ve forgotten everything, even when you’ve forgotten that you didn’t want to ever forget, even when the world no longer tastes like marigolds and you’re sure you’ve finally done it this time.

You blinked.

You’ve forgotten your Self.

you’ve lost her.

– When Dani Moscovitch was but four years old she told her parents that she wanted to be the first female Jewish president of the United States…or a pirate. The next day they brought home an eyepatch, and as such her fate was sealed. To all the young poopdeckers out there—never give up on your dreams.

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