Lalita Noronha


As I lie on a gurney in the emergency room,
my mind slips into another sphere,
a quiet place with no air, no need to breathe.

The planets swirl about me ─
Jupiter and her four moons,
but it is Europa’s voice I hear first,
a spinning shell of ice
sunlight bouncing off cracks.

Around me voices fade,
leaf-green gowns pale under my eyes,
and bands of dark birds,
geese or song birds,
fly in V formations.

I hear their call.
The air off their wing tips will lift me.
I don’t have to fly.

Dusk deepens, the sky cobalt-blue,
threads of daylight weave through.
Last chance, the last flock calls,

but my last inhale
is trapped within a space
where rain drops aren’t yet snow,
water’s not yet steam,
love’s not yet eternal.

Someone asks me something,
I answer binding.
I hear someone shouting, she doesn’t know what she’s saying.

I open my eyes,
see my child at my side,
holding me down.



Born in India, Lalita Noronha came to the U.S. on a Fulbright travel grant and earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology/Biochemistry. She is a research scientist, writer, poet, teacher, and editor for The Baltimore Review. She is the author of a short story collection Where Monsoons Cry (Black Words Press, 2004) and two poetry books, Mustard Seed: A Collage of Science, Art and Love Poems (Apprentice Press, 2016), and the chapbook Her Skin Phyllo-thin (Finishing Line Press, 2014). Other credits include two Maryland Individual Artist Awards (in fiction and poetry), and Pushcart prize nominations (in poetry and creative nonfiction), and readings/interviews on WYPR's "The Signal." To read more by this author, see the Museum Issue.