Measure yourself inch by inch, until you find your mother’s grief hidden in your kneecaps. When you do, build with it a marionette. Breathe into it your clumsy confession. You’ll need strings; I recommend those warm soft hairs at the back of your scalp. Pull them and make it dance. Watch the way its feet turn out and the way its shoulders slump. Look familiar yet? Give it your own name, or call it “twin.” Write and rewrite its origin story in the only language you know, this one that makes turmeric of haldi and cumin of jeera. When it’s never enough, call it lost in translation. Do not apologize. Ask the marionette what language your mother, who you’ve never once called amma, dreams in and it will tell you, mostly English, mostly loss.
Maya Ramakrishnan is a law student living and writing in Seattle, Washington. She is a graduate of Colby College, where she concentrated in creative writing and received the Katherine Rogers Murphy Prize for Original Poetry. She can be found in the New England Review of Books and elsewhere, including on Twitter at @maya_ramak.