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Mandira Pattnaik "Across the Wall"

My longing in exile is

            my mother and sisters’ scarves swinging,

swaying, on a string

            upon a distant rooftop.

Thrill of the plunge, the rise,       

            as though cascading laughter,

celebrating harvest.

            The tension of the clothesline,

stiffness of pegs, anchoring their

            mirth, lest they hope to float

away to their unbridled freedoms.

            My longing in exile is

becoming the wind, joining them,

            up and down, fluttering all day.

My yearning in exile thrives

            on patterns and prints of their

wraps — chiffony windows to my

            home across the border.

Bio: Mandira Pattnaik's (she/ her) recent poems have appeared in Prime Number Magazine, The Fourth River, The Shore, West Trestle Review, Opia Mag, Thimble, Variant Lit, Feral Poetry and Eclectica Magazine. Her work has received commendations and multiple nominations including for the Pushcart Prize 2021. More of her work can be found at

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