Madwoman in the Attic
By: Ranjana Varghese
This is the order of things: male
fantasies, something sinister, violence,
hunger, chokehold of happiness.
(They don’t kill you because they’re
hungry, they kill you because they’re
We are bright, dead things, Eden’s
outcasts: unaccompanied, a nation
of immigrants, fever dream of a more
beautiful and terrible history.
No room! No room!
There’s plenty of room.
Loveliest grotesque. Passport photos
in the jade cabinet in the white hotel:
the edible woman, the global soul,
the blind assassin, the body’s question.
This is the grand permission,
citizen: you should say what you
Don’t let me be lonely.
This will be my undoing.
This is the new testament, hymn for
the black terrific, little anodynes—we
are bastards of the Reagan era.
May we be forgiven.
Ranjana Varghese teaches and writes in Houston, Texas. She received her M.F.A. in poetry and fiction at the University of Maryland, and her Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston. She is the creative nonfiction editor of Oyster River Pages, a fledgeling online literary journal. Her work has appeared in Louisville Review, Gulf Coast, Pebble Lake Review, and elsewhere.