Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 9 • Spring 2004 • Poetry

Miss Indo-America dreams

Minal Hajratwala

Please send me, she says
Please send me a banner
to lift and separate my gifts
Please send me an agent
a Bollywood contract
a first-desi-on-MTV appearance
Please send me a talent
a cause for the interview
a ballgown to show off my ... poise
Please send me a magazine
with my body in it
Please send me to Paradise
where I will wear the diamond tiara
& hula with Bob Barker
or Amitabh Bachhand
Please send me a rich
& a camel
& a needle's eye
to see him by
Please send me to the Festival of India parade
where I will float above
the huddled masses of my people
protesters from Khalistan
beaten wives straight-A girls
immigrants with grease in their hair
hip-hop boys with baggy pants & worried mothers
young white spouses slurping earnest curries
dealmakers whiskeydrinkers
vegetarians eating just one chicken samosa
because it is our day
& this is our country
& I am so beautiful
& everything they imagined when they came
is true for at least one
24 karat gold afternoon.

Minal Hajratwala's non-fiction book about the Indian diaspora as lived by her extended family is expected to be published by Houghton-Mifflin in 2005. Her poems and performance works have been published in various literary journals and anthologies. She was a writing fellow at the Sundance Institute in 1999, an artist-in-residence at the Jon Sims Center for the Performing Arts in 2000, and a fellow in the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University in 2000-2001. Her solo performance work, "Avatars: Gods for a New Millennium," premiered at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco in 1999. She lives in San Francisco and is a graduate of Stanford University.

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