by Rita Mookerjee
My mom is a hoarder but not in the popular
sense with dolls and newspapers and putrid
bodies under fallen bookshelves who no one
thought of until the smell kicked in. She is just
too attached to the world. She cannot part
with greeting cards, pacifiers, pastel board
games and wooden souvenirs whose origin
stories tend to change when I ask about them.
There is a drawer in a filing cabinet
where my mom keeps teeth and hair
in envelopes: my sisters canines, the rat
tail my brother sported one summer. It
was in fashion at the time. The envelopes
are labeled with only our names as if we
ourselves lie tucked behind manilla folders.
I think of how the mambos tell people
to bury their hair in the ground so that no
one can take your tresses and ball them
into tufts for ill will. In this way, my
mom’s drawer is fierce protection. It sits
locked in a room within a room within
a room, the key hidden even I don’t know where.
Rita Mookerjee is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Women's and Gender Studies Program at Iowa State University. Her poetry is featured in Juked, Aaduna, New Orleans Review, Sinister Wisdom, and the Baltimore Review. She is the author of the chapbook Becoming the Bronze Idol (Bone & Ink Press, 2019). She is the Assistant Poetry Editor of Split Lip Magazine and a poetry staff reader for [PANK]. She is the Poetry Editor and Sex, Kink, and the Erotic Editor for Honey Literary.