Alycia Pirmohamed is the author of the chapbooks Hinge (ignitionpress), and Faces that Fled the Wind (BOAAT Press), and co-author with Pratyusha of Second Memory (Guillemot Press and Baseline Press).
Her debut collection, Another Way to Split Water, is forthcoming with YesYes Books and Polygon Books in 2022. She is the co-founder of the Scottish BAME Writers Network, a co-organiser of the Ledbury Poetry Critics Programme, and a Junior Anniversary Fellow at IASH via the University of Edinburgh.
Alycia won the Grierson Verse Prize in 2019 and the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award in 2020.
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This poem is a narrativization of the stories my father told me while we travelled together to Tanzania for the first time. From him, I learned about my ancestry: where my great-grandparents were born, the migration path of my grandfather, and the specificities of my own Indian heritage. The tritina felt like an appropriate form because this history is recursive, and its effects are felt across different temporalities. Each generation, in a way, echoes like the form’s repeating words.
Tritina for My India
Here is the seed of goodbye between myself & my India.
Here is the story of how I surrendered kutchi as a child.
Here are the ghosts of the great-greats I never knew:
In the reeds of Nangarpur Kutch, my great-grandfather knew
how to grow fruit on tough land, how to love his India.
He spoke the language of labourers, passed down to his child
the stones of stanzas without a written form & his child
passed down the aloed tongue to my father. Once, I too knew
the melodic fronds of this version of a version of an India—
an imagined India: the only homeland this child ever knew.