Plain China

At Night (II)

by Pritha Bhattacharyya · Cornell University
"A New World of Light", Jacob Fisher · Bard College

We went to an amusement park

in downtown Calcutta, with

fire-breathing macho men and

an artist who wrote my name on

a single grain of uncooked rice.

There was a water slide with mats

made of golfing turf, and no

soft landing to break the fall.

My uncle, the boy, had told me

weeks ago of a tightrope line

I’d have to walk across to exit

the park. No harness and no net –

he’d told me, as we sat in a

locked room in my grandparents’ house,

shouting Bengali expletives

to strangers on the street, hiding

behind the shutters if they looked our

way. One man waited until we

snuck a peek and scared us shitless.

My face – must have exhibited

the same expression that night as

we walked to the ride, my uncle

mischievously grinning at me.

The ropes were strung up high and taut

and carried…compartments. Sturdy,

stable enclosures that traveled

the lines along the vicinity.

As we glided through the air,

I thought to yell at my companion,

but it was dark and we were high,

so I just glanced over the edge.

Mosquitos danced. Light bulbs flickered.

He put a hand on my shoulder.

 

About the Author

Pritha Bhattacharyya · Cornell University

Pritha Bhattacharyya is a Bengali-American writer who received her B.A. from Cornell University in 2016. Her work appears in Rainy Day, Marginalia, Litro Online, Poetry Breakfast, and The Blueshift Journal. She currently serves as a poetry reader for The Adroit Journal. "At Night (II)" first appeared in Rainy Day.

About the Artist

Jacob Fisher · Bard College

Jacob Fisher is graduate of Bard College and a Installation Artist living and working in New York City. Jacob creates temporary installations that work at transforming and redefining the aesthetics of a space. He Strives to create a visceral experience for viewers, something that is approachable to all. Through the combination of unconventional materials, repetitive forms, and transformative light, the installations become dynamic pieces of artwork that viewers become lost within and mesmerized by. "A New World of Light" first appeared in Bard Papers.