April 9, 1998

Chitra Divakaruni's writing, both fiction and nonfiction, is frequently rooted in the complexities of the home. In the poem "How I Became a Writer," for instance, she describes a fraught scene in her mother's Indian kitchen:

... Behind us, a clatter.
Her hand stiffens over mine, stops.
We're both listening for that heavy stumble,
metallic hiss of pee against toilet pan, that shout
arcing through the house like a rock, her name ...

... Her skin
like light, so lovely I almost do not see
the bruise
spreading its yellow over the bone ...

... And I, my heart
a magenta balloon thrown up
into the sky, away
from iron fisted gorillas, from the stench of piss,
I know I'm going to be
the best, the happiest writer in the world.