The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “The Goddess Monologues” by Vandana Khanna

7 (2).jpg

Parvati Rewrites Myth

I won’t miss the dirty hive of your hair,
your slow drone of a chant that lasts all day.
In this version, I’m done with kindness,

left it in my last life, with my cheap glass bangles
and cotton sari. I am my own constellation
of pathetic stars, built my loneliness twig by twig—

lit it on fire to keep me warm. I can’t pretend
to care even as the butter burns to clear, even as
I never learned the names of trees. Spiteful in white,

I’ve lost the bride’s red parting my hair, the gold
at my ankles. Enough with all this jungle, with its
shiny tongues, sloppy mouth. I’ll leave you

to your cave, your brilliance, spit your name out
like paan from my cheek—walk out of the tight cluster
of trees, the sun’s hot tone on my head like a drum.


This selection comes from the poetry chapbook The Goddess Monologues by Vandana Khanna, which is available to purchase here from Diode Editions.

Vandana Khanna was born in New Delhi, India and attended the University of Virginia and Indiana University, where she earned her MFA. She is the author of two full length collections: Train to Agra, winner of the Crab Orchard Review First Book Prize and Afternoon Masala, the co-winner of the 2014 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize. Her chapbook, The Goddess Monologues, won the Diode Editions Chapbook Competition, and was published in March 2016. Her work has appeared in journals such as The Missouri Review, the New England Review and Prairie Schooner as well as the anthologies Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation and Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry. She lives in Los Angeles.

Jennie Frost is a Jewish, Appalachian poet from Maryville, TN. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Anomaly, Kudzu, Glass Mountain, Sink Hollow, Indicia, Mochila, Stirring, and Political Punch, an anthology on the politics of identity from Sundress Publications. She is a three-time winner of the Curtis Owens prize and beginning in January, she will serve as the Writer in Residence at the Sundress Academy for the Arts.


Leave a Reply