Pink light sears the marbled bar & the straw in my drink
is pastel. On wood-paneled walls, American Traditional paintings
of my goddesses. Kati texts me : all this gaslighting
. I’m taking extra space, my bags all over
the butterscotch seats, & the only men around are behind
the bar, burning sage & lemon rinds for garnish, talking
about mangoes—their remedial qualities, the cost & palette &
current trend toward. I’m turning fuchsia, bottled up. Appropriate me
sideways, my bags are full & I’m nothing if not a product,
lush. Kati writes : like how I’m feeling isn’t legitimate enough. On the counter,
two artificial flames are a native woman’s breasts. Durga save me,
I’m liable to paint the borough white—that is,
in reminder—my wrists already smelling of tamarind
&; jasmine & not because it comes natural, but if I’m to invest
in anything, shouldn’t it be our first fruit, that ancient
juice, & shouldn’t it be to remedy—. I have to cherry-pick
my battles here, can’t argue against exotic existence, so I don’t
write : my mother holding a mango is more brown joy than this place will ever see.
Filaments fitted with paisleys glow & the tequila’s got this sweet
bite & I’m pissed at the walls, they just shutter out
light. Joy is fine, joy is pretty pink, but Kati would like to yell, after
all, isn’t dissent patriotic
& anger a form of grief & I inhale the incense
the white bartender burns as if from a censer. My holy hour
has only just begun, yes, mangoes are astonishing, & women are worth
our own saving. I go about separating pulp
from rind.