Ypsi On My Mind

by Anuja Rajendra

My being relates to this place
Like a turtle full of substance steadfastly
Forging
Its path
Simultaneously with hard knocked blinders for focus
And the significant shell also serves to expel
The smears
And the naysayers
And the
Unappreciative gut crushers
Who choke and squash her rousing voices

Yeah, I’ve got Ypsi on my mind
Where people are still human
And are willing to put their names on the line
For diamonds in the rough
And no expectation of paybacks
To be deposited in the political accounts of thine
They look in your eyes and
Trust flows unless it is undermined
With a heartfelt request to not be forgotten
“Will I remember them even when the need isn’t mine?”

I’ve got Ypsi on my mind

The front porches and warm smiles
Without the patronization
Or the calling of a woman like me “a nobody”

I’ve got Ypsi on my mind

The brothers and sisters at first sight
Who felt like what kin should be
The idealized “bhaiyas” and “didis”
Of my family’s culture who
Should make everyone feel a sense of belonging

It’s been a long couple of years
And, sometimes, it feels a lifetime
I’ve been cowering inside a shell
Due to trauma through no fault of mine
Sticking my head out intermittently to help and to heal and to hold together
These yet to be realized dreams of yours and of mine

As I observe Ypsi flower and take her place
I feel grateful to be in proximity to the grace in her space
As a neighbor in fact
But, in my pores, as a cellular soulmate
I borrow her energy and cheer for Ypsi
And let her courage feed me
Don’t believe me?
You probably don’t live in Ypsi.

I’ve got Ypsi on my mind

Whose energy I draw upon
As I pray for the life force
To expand my muted voice
And, like her,
Take my rightful
Equitable place.