The Stormtroopers of My Country

Tishani Doshi

The stormtroopers of my country lovetheir wives but are okay to burnwhat needs to be burned for the goodof the republic often doing so in brownpleated shorts and cute black hats with sticksand tear gas and manifestos of lovefor cows for heritage for hard Hindu burningdevotion for motherland tongue it’s all goodtheir pants are buckled unbuckled brownshut up this is serious this country will stickit to infiltrators imprison traitors loveneighbors with the right papers you know burnbaby imagine a country a house on fire goodgen z millennial kids good upstarts browndenizens who’ve discovered their rights are sticksare legs to walk the streets dearly belovedwe are gathered here as effigies to burnstanding up so take your anticitizen laws goodsir good government ha-ha off-colour joke brownout shit I wish we had the internet because sticksmay break us but this is a revolution of lovelike the sixties gauchistes hate me but don’t burnpublic property really sir you promised us goodgovernance but the evidence is mounting of brownsoldiers massacring brown shops mosques stickwith the pogrom atrocity death march lovemarch no such thing as a clean termite to burnis to purify oh our culture so ancient so goodwe’re in the thick of the swastika now no browbeating will divide us together we must stick

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Tishani Doshi
Photo:
Jonathan Self

Tishani Doshi publishes poetry, essays and fiction. Her most recent books are Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods, shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award, and a novel, Small Days and Nights (Norton), shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize and a New York Times Bestsellers Editor’s Choice. For fifteen years she worked as a dancer with the Chandralekha group in Madras, India. She is a visiting associate professor at New York University Abu Dhabi, and otherwise, lives in Tamil Nadu. A God at the Door, published by Copper Canyon Press, is her fourth full-length collection of poems, and has been shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize 2021.

With aching empathy, righteous anger, and rebellious humor, A God at the Door calls on the extraordinary minutiae of nature and humanity to redefine belonging and unveil injustice. In an era of pandemic lockdown and brutal politics, these poems make vital space for what must come next―the return of wonder and free movement, and a profound sense of connection to what matters most. From a microscopic cell to flightless birds, to a sumo wrestler and the tree of life, Doshi interrupts the news cycle to pause in grief or delight, to restore power to language. A God at the Door invites the reader on a pilgrimage―one that leads us back to the sacred temple of ourselves. This is an exquisite, generous collection from a poet at the peak of her powers.

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