an epiphany/psychotic episode

Moni Brar

an epiphany/psychotic episode is the honourable mention for Room’s 2021 Poetry Contest, as judged by Kama La Mackerel. You can find the full list of winners, and what judge Kama La Mackerel had to say about each winning piece, here.


an epiphany/psychotic episode

my sixteen-year-old eyes open
the absence of sharp objects,
my innermost thoughts
I step off the elliptical daze,
the reality that I’m still here,
a faded blue gown covers
a body that was intentionally
how to store violence, how

Linda says something in group,
while I marvel at the hybridity
once singular in its purity
whole, complex, and replete:
and grapefruit pucker,
between Japanese plum and
descendant of black x logan x rasp
fruit form but shun its human shape.
my father’s fear of hybridity is

John tells us he is a triple threat,
to utter words with confidence,
sing, nor dance, nor act
I want to tell John he is lucky,
the triple threat Dalit women
of poverty, gender bias,

Susan screams at the trees
room. while her words settle
coming and going from this plane
that in the absence of obituaries,
they asked only one question: 

Pam says something in group,
mouth, as I realize that I
that life is only time passing

to white ceiling, white walls,
a safe space where I can share
with clipboards and strangers.
awaken to muted sounds and
that somehow, I must march on.
a body with flesh markers,
omitted, a body that knows
to live with the unacceptable.

begins to rock, cry into herself,
of fruit, this taking of something
and combining it to make a new
Minneola of tangerine shape
Pluot of blasphemous marriage
Armenian apricot, and Boysenberry,
berries. we fawn over amalgam in
my body has always known this.
shrapnel lodged in my brain.

and I wonder what it feels like
to have talent in spades, but I cannot
(unless it is to act as insider).
that we are lucky, to not live with
face: the inescapable burden
and caste discrimination. 

framed by the window of the craft
on the floor, I remember that the
was different once,
the Greeks did not write tributes.
did the person live with passion?

then stuffs it back into her small
or none of this truly matters,
through this body for a while. 


Born in rural India, Moni Brar is a writer, educator, and survivor who now gratefully divides her time between the unceded territories of the Syilx Okanagan Nation and the Treaty 7 Region. Her writing explores the connections of time, place and identity in the immigrant experience, diasporic guilt, the legacy of trauma resulting from colonization, and mental health. Her work has received multiple nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. She believes art contains the possibility of healing.

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