Radhika Lodhia
New Zealand

Karakia Precari - Penny Howard 2016

Henna smudges on
“Ethnic” skin
And the bright colours of
The salwar kameezes
I do not wear
Mehndi, steeping in tea with lemon
“I was a teenager too once, you know”
It feels like a lifetime ago
When I was a child
Looked up at you
With wide brown eyes
And you rubbed coconut oil into my hair
Telling me that I was the prettiest girl
Getting ready for weddings and
Straightening my hair
Was the most exciting thing
When, thick chokers, dangling earrings,
Beads and diamonds
Like starstruck eyes
At the tattooed bride
And her nervous groom,
Eyes as wide as mine were
Nuzzled into the smell of opium
Stuck in mamma’s heavy shawl
Deep seated in, ivory bones,
It was there
I was there
But I
Pining for the miasma of incense sticks
And the warmth of mama’s scarves
But the temple
Full of people
And empty
And radi
For home

Please don’t stay in my heart

Please don’t stay in my heart
Once you are gone
For I do not think I could stand
The ghost of you
And the Polaroid memories
That I had burned into the corners of my mind

Please do not stay in my heart
Once you are gone
Because the chairs in my apartment will be empty
And my eyes will be full
Of the tears I’d not the mind to shed
When you were once around

Please do not stay in my heart
When you are gone
For I will spend the next Christmas
Staring down into my wine glass
Wondering why
This year
Of all years
I’d only the need to purchase one bottle
And nothing more

Please do not stay in my heart
Once you are gone
For in your absence
My heart will stutter

Please do not stay in my heart
Once you are gone
For the tingling in my bones
Will grow into a tremor
In memory of your effervescent
Hands and body
You have been written into my system
Your topography etched into my ribs
Where you touched my heart
For the very first time
So please I beg of you

Don’t stay in my heart
Once you are gone
For I will no longer be searching for you
But the ghosts of the person I once was
And their slow decent
Into a maddening love with you
A reminder of a distant stranger
From a place that can never exist
Do not stay in my heart
Once you are gone
For I will be writing poems about you
Long after

Radhika Lodhia grew up in the teenage section of the Papatoetoe Library, avidly devouring countless stories, lifetimes, and universes. From a young age she was entranced by words and their magic, feeling that one of the greatest things in life was to understand words and power that they hold when used in certain ways. As a result she spends her days writing poems on Microsoft word and avoiding her uni assignments. So far she's been featured twice in the Signals Literary Journal (volume 2, 2013 & volume 3 2014) and once in Kate magazine (2015) published by the women's rights officers at The University of Auckland. New Zealand