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Moni Brar Poetry Collection

Moni Brar Poetry Collection

– Poetry by Moni Brar –

Garam Cha {Hot Tea}

My nani’s cha –
cloves, anise
thick, heavy
already warm
from the belly of our
water buffalo.
steeped on a chulha
poured into steel glasses
held by the rim.

My mother’s cha –
cloves, anise
cane sugar
homogenized, pasteurized
four litre jugs
Dairyland, Beatrice, Lucerne.
steeped on a stovetop
poured into mismatched cups
sipped over gossip.

My cha –
chai tea concentrate
4 pumps
for a Grande
cow, soy, coconut, almond
non-fat, low-fat, 2%, whole
topped with foam.
steeping not required
served in paper cup with
a twin-tailed mermaid.

Nani: maternal grandmother
Gur: unrefined sugar without the separation of molasses and crystals
Chulha: a small earthen or brick stove built on the ground


He remembers Assam.
Endless plantations
with serpentine tails
winding down emerald hills,
a sea of green.

The smell of leaves,
unripened tea,
and the coming rains.
The mornings quietly consume
the long nights.

Quick fingers pluck
tender leaves,
shoulders quiver, longing for rest.
Damp heat rises
through soles of sandaled feet.

This old man,
with yellowed beard
and milky eyes,
remembers those days
spent under a different sky,

When limbs were long
and back unbent,
vistas shrinking and expanding
with each breath,
when any place felt like home.

He returns
to his dusty village
proudly bearing a tin of tea,
dismayed to see vessel coveted
and contents discarded.

About the Author – Moni Brar

Moni Brar is an uninvited settler on unsurrendered territories of the Treaty 7 region and Syilx Okanagan Nation. She is a Punjabi Canadian writer exploring diasporan guilt, identity, cultural oppression, and intergenerational trauma. She believes in the possibility of healing through literature. Her work appears in PRISM international, Hart House Review, Existere, FreeFall, Hobart, and other publications.

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