by Carolina Hotchandani
Featured Art: Fissure, by John Schriner
In your version of the story, people butter their fingers
with notions of God, splitting India into a smaller India,
a new Pakistan. The way a single roti’s dough
is pulled apart, the new spheres, rolled in the palms,
then flattened. The idea of God—the destroyer of human bonds,
you will say in the diatribe I know well—the reason for new
borders, new pain to sprout on either side of a dividing line.
You’ll go on. I’ll picture the edges of your words blurring
to a hum as I think of how to wrest your rant from you.
A rolling pin barrels over dough, widens the soft disc,
makes it fine. You are fragile. Like a story that stretches
belief. Like a nation. Like a thin disc of dough that sticks
to a surface, tearing when it’s peeled back. I don’t know
how to part the story from the person and keep the person.
Carolina Hotchandani is a poet and Goodrich Assistant Professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she teaches courses on literature, writing, and the medical humanities. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in AGNI, Alaska Quarterly Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Cincinnati Review, The Journal, Missouri Review (poem of the week), Plume, Prairie Schooner, West Branch, and other journals. She received the Rona Jaffe scholarship to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2021 and was a Pushcart nominee in 2017. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and daughter.