Poems on Utopia

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By Sagaree Jain
Feb 04, 2021 | min read
Part of 71: Utopia
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In Which the Poet Stretches and Sees God 

After Marianne Chan  

Not Eve, but Geetika. My mother’s name 
always reminded me of the sky. Not pale, 

but sun bronzed, my kin in celestial light. Not always, 
but today, bowing to the weight of deity 

that does not ask, “and what community 
do you stem from?” He comes to me, Him, 

as I practice movement, bend into the sweet wealth 
of my hip muscle. Not Eve, not Jesus, not Krishna 

with his blue dark face. What body can I offer 
to divinity? The answer is a plain one, a body stripped 

of pretense. At the beginning of the world, 
He asked me how I would follow Him, and I said, 

“I promise not to lie.” At the beginning of the world, 
He saw me for a moment, and I broke, humbled, 

scattered.

• • •

In Which the Poet Sickens of This Earthly Form

After Rachel McKibbens’ Tomboy

In the summer, I grew. I grew fond of eating 
and all its sister deities, sat idle as the sickness 

raged around me. I sat and stared at my door, 
and my body bubbled and writhed. My breasts 

grew full and then flat. My hips swelled to a 
circle. My cheeks rounded and then drooped 

to rolls on my lovely neck. And oh, how I burned 
the soft fat from my body. How I singed 

the warm round of my belly, the sweet curve 
of my flapping arm. I cut off my breasts 

and tapered my hips. I broadened my shoulder 
and behold: there I was, a slip of flesh, 

a glorious genderless god-person. Behold, 
beholden to no one, shining a waiflike glow. 

And then, for good measure, I split the skin 
between my rib cages, uncaged myself 

altogether. I emerged shimmering 
as my body collapsed behind me: a kindly

shape-shifter, a violet apsara, a beautiful
dark-ish nothing. 

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Sagaree Jain

Sagaree Jain (they/them) is a poet, writer, artist, and queer from the Silicon Valley. Their writing has been featured in Autostraddle, The Margins, them. magazine, and The Offing, where they’re also an Assistant Editor. They were featured in APAture 2019 and were a finalist for the 2020 Glass Poetry Chapbook Series. They are class and caste privileged. Sagaree lives in Oakland and tweets at @sagareejain.

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