You named her Mahtab nine years ago —
          I wonder if Mahtab is dead today.

           (The version before Mahtab loved Eliot.
          She wanted to be the Hyacinth Girl,
          with wet eyes and hair).

          Mahtab’s words were bubbles against the sky.
          “Jor ba khair, jaan jora?”
          were the calligraphy of her lips.

           (For you, she painted her lips scarlet.
          For you, she wore lavender in bed.)

          Was she the one you called azizam?
          Was she the one who said, “Doostet daram“?

          For you, Mahtab dreamt of moon and stars
          For you, Mahtab wore a Prussian blue scarf
          For you, Mahtab cooked meat in tomato paste
          For you, phrases of love rolled off her tongue

          doostet daram

          Well, Eshgeman, I still wonder if Mahtab is dead.


          I now recall the soprano sound
          of love shattering like a crystal glass
          as Mahtab drank oceans of her own passion.
          I seem to remember all of a sudden
          that Mahtab kept drinking oceans of salty tears
          till she drowned.

           (At the time of death,
          she wore lavender, loved hyacinth poetry,
          and her hair was wet.)

          doostet daram

          Eshgeman, now I know Mahtab is dead.

          Mahtab was too thirsty
          Mahtab drank an ocean too many


          Glossary for Mahtab (Farsi/Dari)

          Jor ba khair/jan jora — How are you? Is everything fine?
          Azizam — sweetheart
          Dibunatam — crazy for you
          Doostet daram — I love you
          Eshgeman — my love
          Noshjan — may your soul be satisfied (usually said to a person who is about to eat or drink)
          Mahtab — moonlight

Jagari Mukherjee is currently pursuing her PhD in English from Seacom Skills University, Bolpur, India. She is a Best of the Net 2018 nominee, a Bear River 2018 alumna, and has won, among other prizes, the Poeisis Award For Excellence in Poetry 2019. Her first chapbook, Between Pages, is forthcoming this year by Cherry-House Press, Illinois, USA.