Unicorns for Dummies by Minal Hajratwala

But no one is stupid in unicorn country.
Each genius shimmies forth:
the girl who sorts candies by color, only at Easter, murmuring mmm,
the boy who still believes

in communism. All your questions will be answered, rendering
this text superfluous. Still I write because we have some miles
to go before we reach the radiant border
& I do not wish you to lose heart. Without heart,

you cannot enter the high green land, no matter
how bravely you have crossed the wastes.  Mere survival
is not enough, though it’s hard enough to scratch your way
from scrub to scrub, panting.  Despite your parched lips,

despite the thorns & termite-wounds in your thighs,
don’t be grim.  For you have to believe
in the beast, its fabled horn, & most of all
in the tender bead you carry:

bead of quark & rice, of plasma swelling forth, mammal-sweat
in which the world is refracted
& the cliffs fall away &
everyone you were gives way

to who you will be.


Minal Hajratwala (www.minalhajratwala.com) is author of the award-winning epic Leaving India: My Family’s Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents (2009), which was called “incomparable” by Alice Walker and “searingly honest” by the Washington Post, and editor of Out! Stories from the New Queer India (2013). Her latest book is Bountiful Instructions for Enlightenment, published by The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, which she co-founded. She graduated from Stanford University, was a fellow at Columbia University, and was a 2011 Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar. As a writing coach, she loves helping people give voice to untold stories.

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