Author Archives: Moni Brar

Moni Brar

About Moni Brar

Moni Brar is an uninvited settler who lives, writes, and learns on unceded, unsurrendered territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region and the land of the Syilx of the Okanagan Nation. She is a Punjabi, Sikh Canadian writer exploring diasporan guilt, identity, cultural oppression, and intergenerational trauma. She believes in the possibility of healing through literature. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in PRISM international, Hart House Review, untethered, Rogue Agent, Existere, Blank Spaces, Mobius, Ricepaper and various anthologies. She was shortlisted for the Grouse Grind Prize for V. Short Forms and FreeFall Magazine's Annual Poetry Contest.

The Pickers

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farmer blood, peasant blood,
managing-to-hold-on-by-a-thread blood
seeps from veins into deepening soil,
willing things to grow in desolate places.
we’ve always picked things,
soft things and hardened things —
bajra, jowar, rice, sugar cane, and cotton
that made our hands bleed for days, for years.
transplanted to far off soil,
from rich earth and fertile loam,
we pick foreign things,
luscious things and beautiful things —
strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and sometimes
late-summer blackberries just for fun.
transplanted to not so far off soil,
we pick newer things,
hot desert sun things and prickly things —
peaches, apricots and grapes of wine we will never drink,
grapes that sparkle hard
before they’re crushed and dissolve
into liquid or vapor.

photo of a person picking herbs in a field

Never Enough photo by Moni Brar

Salad Spinner

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My mother is mystified by the salad spinner,
mesmerized by its whir and endless spin,
suspicious that it could do a better job
than her hands that know vegetables so well,
hands that know how to wash the silt from greens
– fenugreek, mustard, amaranth, bathua, choliay –
hands that know how to blot the wet from vein and blade,
how to fan the leaves on faded shawls in the sun.
Now these hands learn to assemble
and disassemble this new thing, these plastic parts.
She watches the merry-go-round
cull moisture from thin air, from tender growth,
marvels at the pool of water in its base,
excess and unwanted.
She fans the leaves on faded shawls in the sun
and boxes this thing that has replaced ritual.
She tells me, this salad spinner can only do so much.

Self Portrait by Nadia So