The Anthropologist’s Daughter

My mother is a chaser of ghosts—
she stores souls in between her knuckles,
to press their cooling breaths to my forehead
when a migraine strikes

She lives in a typewriter box with
Durkheim and Freud and Bourdieu,
and all the great men that wrote convoluted
sentences about their convoluted self

Or selves she stores in cassette tapes from the nineties,
with her ritual chants, and her marionettes,
and the aspirin she pops daily
into a dusty water glass, to hush the spirits in the back of her skull

With the diamond ring
from an engagement she turned down
she keeps my molars, incisors, canines
blunted by the thumbs I kept sucking as a reminder of my fullness

With the empty perfume bottles
which embalm her bathroom in witches’ scents
she keeps clippings of my hair
in labeled envelopes: June 2002, 2005, 04/2003

In dreams I see her
collect the pieces of me I shed and she cherished
and bring them, tape recorder in hand,
to one of her “contacts” in the suburbs of Yangon

There, she would be welcomed home, by the blood-bathed mouth
of the medium who could crack coconuts with his young, rotting teeth
or by the mammoth who called himself a savant
for being three times the width of a normal man

She would present my relics to them as a badge of desired belonging,
and on the altar deposit them, lovingly,
with the incense, and the durian fruit, and the white glutinous rice,
and light them on fire, tenderly, for the deities she claims not to believe in

Celma Lougredo is a Franco-Swedish poet and student. Her work has appeared in New Reader Magazine, The Writer’s Block and Page & Spine.

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