Fall 2016

Edited by Barry Kitterman | Andrea Spofford | Amy Wright



Poetry

October 2001

​Anuradha Bhowmik


Trick or treating was cancelled. Anthrax in

powder form could crawl under letter flaps,

hide in split Pixie sticks, slip inside slits

of candy wrappers, the folds of treat sacks. 

 

We once went doot-to-door with plastic bags:

pink with drawstrings, saved from bus station gift 

shops that sold I Spy books with bargain tags,

bought after trips to the Newark Asylum Office.

 

I had learned English from cable TV: 

from Rupert, Little Bear, Sunday cartoons.

Americans saw my face on burning 

twin buildings, televised all afternoon. 

 

Before I found out what asylum meant,

Dada and I signed our Bangali names 

in cardboard book covers, with block letters.

Soon I'd learn, I Spy wasn't just a game. 

 

It was a shame. To find the threat of attack

(the terror) the horror on Halloween,

weren't acts of the anthrax boogeyman.

It was me: the sari princess they'd seen. 

 

 

________________________

Anuradha Bhowmik is a Bangladeshi-American poet and writer from South Jersey. She is an MFA candidate at Virginia Tech and the poetry editor for the minnesota review. She is a Pushcart nominee and has received scholarships from the New York State Summer Writers Institute, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Frost Place, the Indiana University Writers’ Conference, and the Juniper Summer Writing Instiute. Her poetry and prose are forthcoming or have appeared in Slice Magazine, The Normal School, Copper Nickel, Ninth Letter Online, Word Riot, and elsewhere. Anuradha can be found at www.anuradhabhowmik.com.




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