by Christa Pandey

          My heart was diagnosed with leaky valves,
          a sign of leaky love spread thin?
          Yes, as this German immigrant
          loves country and her childhood home.
          My husband’s family in yet another continent
          takes up heart space as well. I live there
          simultaneously, though more when visiting.

Mine was the war-torn country of cathedrals,
of narrow streets in charming medieval towns,
of siblings leaving one by one, of next-gen families.
A yearly week of home immersion is my treat.
My husband’s country, that of Taj Mahal,
Himalayas, a family so vast we stay
with relatives in many towns and relish
family we don’t have ourselves.

But after almost half a century I must confess
I do belong to the US, though not as gushing
“brought up right” flag-waving white old woman,
but as one who has seen the world and picks
her likes, reserves the right to criticize.
We spent more years in southern states
and shudder at the mounds of snow up north,
yet wish it could be piped down here
for our summer drought, when lack
of washing rain turns trees as dusty
as the Indian ones before monsoon sets in.
But wildflowers in spring make up for it,
fall is so long, it often slides to spring,
a tiny skip of winter in between.
Broad streets, nice houses are the benefits
          of growing towns in land-rich Texas,
          though if the drought persists, our land will starve
          and immigrants will have to leave.
          We love the richness of the world cuisine,
          can pick and choose from music, Broadway, poetry,
          eclectic offerings to fill each day, if one so wished.
          We chose to spend our end of life
          in Austin, have said “yes” to it.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My love of nature has resulted in the poems collected in Southern Seasons. An intense study of the Mahabharat (India’s grand epic) and the Bhagavad Gita led to my other two chapbooks. But I often put my critical thoughts about society into poems which might be called poems of witness. They are reserved for open mics, as there are few print outlets for such poems. The above poem has no “sense of place,” as Southerners call these attachments to their homestead. Mine bombed when I was five years old, and I have had to wander ever since.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Wildflowers” (Austin, Texas) by Christa Pandey.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christa Pandey has lived in Austin, Texas, for almost nine years, where she has delved into the vibrant poetry scene not available to her earlier. Individual poems have appeared and are forthcoming in numerous anthologies and journals. Her three chapbooks, Southern Seasons (Finishing Line Press, 2011), Maya, and Hummingbird Wings are reflective of the many themes she likes to approach in her poetry. She blogs at