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POETRY / Ode to the Sailor Moon Transformation Sequence / Rita Mookerjee

I’d rush home from 1st grade 
to catch the tail end
of the anime block on TV. I would clench my fists 
the bus driver took too long turning onto Cherry Hill Road

and there were new villains and one of them 
half plant half woman was getting ready to do something bad
her vine arms obscene and flailing. I needed to get off the bus
in time to see Serena’s transformation sequence. 

I took a chopstick and painted it pink
tied a hair ribbon to its end
I’d use ballet and the chopstick to mimic 
Serena though the chopstick, unjeweled and wooden, left something to be desired:

It starts in her fingernails. Serena shouts 
something and her nails glitter with power
then a crystal brooch shoots satiny ribbons all around her torso
she has small tits and a small ass but her silhouette still looks sexy;

sexy wasn’t my concern. I was onto something
more cosmic something in the particles of 
light flecking the air around Serena
making her look saintlike

how she stays silent the whole time. 
Her eyes are closed and her lashes fan 
out across her cheek: 
I decided that this is what religion looks like. 

The bodice ribbons shimmer and become a Japanese schoolgirl uniform.
I understand now why they look so nautical; in Japan, 
they emulated the clothes of royal French children.
That was the 19th century, a real turning point for fetish culture. 

Here in 1996, Serena’s hands in long white gloves
legs wrapped in tall red boots
the ripple of her skirt shines blue
she tosses her hair back; she’s almost dressed. 

My mother used to scream that school
wasn’t for fashion that I needed to 
eat breakfast and I was going to miss the bus
if I didn’t choose an outfit 

but I like to get dressed slowly. Maybe
not as slowly as Sailor Moon but I 
wanted my skirt to ripple and my earrings
to light up to show that I too was ready to 

battle my enemies with a combination of 
lunar brute force and angelic grace. I abandoned
the angelic part, but 22 years later I still dress slowly.
I stack three rings on one finger. 

They don’t turn into weapons
but they look pretty damn cool; the 
top one has two opals that gleam pink and
green against my skin. Serena wears a 

choker but I keep it a little more subtle 
with my favorite goddesses on yellow gold chains. 
I wait for one to speak
to me from my throat; she never does. 


Rita Mookerjee's poetry is forthcoming or featured in Lavender Review, GASHER Journal, and Spider Mirror Journal. Her critical work has been featured in the Routledge Companion of Literature and Food, the Bloomsbury Handbook to Literary and Cultural Theory, and the Bloomsbury Handbook of Twenty-First Century Feminist Theory. She currently teaches ethnic minority fiction and women's literature at Florida State University where she is a PhD candidate specializing in contemporary Caribbean literature with a focus on queer theory.