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Author: Sritama Sen

Pages: 76
Year of Publication: 2024


About the Author
Sritama Sen (she/they) is a queer poet, essayist and writer. Growing up in West Bengal, she completed her BA and MA in English at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and has had her
poetry and stories published in various literary zines. Their work explores themes of girlhood, trans identity and queerness in a Bengali context, without being restricted by literary genre conventions. This is her debut poetry collection.



Drifter Curriculum Vitae

As of experience, there is none
unless you count the letters
illicit-natured, dropped like sentences
inside the bags of cisgender girls,
who would grow into their wind-chafed skin
and flirt with me on rebound principle.

And some stories, gathered pell-mell
liberally dosed by plagiarism, from books
my friends wouldn’t touch with a gun to their head.
Morbid narratives of death, rape and anarchy,
for the faux-deep tenth grade feminist
throbbing with untapped molecular energy in our burgeoning bosoms.

Plus, a handful of essays typed on the Notes App,
clicking teeth in fear and pressing SEND
– here, take my body in a negotiable word limit,
take my trauma, make of it a tableau of rainbow-bright aesthetics.
Some of them like candles calling moths –
queers camping in my mail for days,
others brought death threats, but at least
hey, I got to have my cheque and eat it too.

Finally, these poems, I guess. These too,
I offer up to your kind discretion,
twenty-three years of non-marketing
personal body politic for the diversity crowds.
Not queer enough to be the next Hoshang Merchant.
But too queer to be flashing it on LinkedIn.
Trans paradox, in solving lies joy.

So as of experience, I have none
except what I tore out with my teeth
from your Pride manifesto, your corporate shtick,
peddling my pieces per hundred-line count:
Here I am. Does my body of work inspire?




Turmeric / 10
Virtue and Knowledge / 12
Complicit / 15
Sleepover Trauma Dump / 17
Ode to Katrina Kaif / 20
Come on Barbie! / 22
Family Heirlooms / 24
Grandfather on His Deathbed / 27
Grandmother Ruminates on My Coming Out / 31
Mother, Rationalizing / 33
Alo / 36


Chorus of the Saltwater Mermaids (Now Extinct) / 40
First Love / 42
Progressive Advice / 46
Hena Didi / 48
Spotting a Kolkata Butch / 50
The Way of Fruit / 52
Dyke Speed-Dating Round One / 53
Say it! Say it! / 56
Notes from Queer Theory Class / 58
Nativity Scene / 61
Gender As I Know It / 62
You Who Wear a Binder / 65
Drifter Curriculum Vitae / 67
Transgender Limerick for My Father Who Really Wanted Me to Include a Limerick in My First Poetry Collection / 69
Epilogue: There Used to Be a Lake Here Once / 70

There Used to Be a Lake Here Once


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