What shall I wear to work today?

By Roanna Gonsalves


A sari’s drape is nothing like a suit;
A pin-striped jacket’s cut is far more slick;
When glass and bamboo ceilings need the boot,
They say a trouser’d likely do the trick.
A buttoned blazer covers all the bases,
where ghagra, pallo, pleats might come undone.
A matching skirt and jacket’d take you places,
No midriff, bare, distracting everyone.
My matka silk, my grandma’s kanjeevaram,
my kasavu, ikat, formal kantha fave,
unsuited for the corporate suited scrum
of worsted wool, cashmere, so serious, grave.
And yet, I’ll do my sari’s fall and bidding,
I’ll worship, wear this comfort, live, enfolding.

12 February 2018, Sydney.


Roanna Gonsalves is the author of The Permanent Resident (UWAP, 2016) published in India as Sunita De Souza Goes to Sydney (Speaking Tiger, 2018). Her book won the prestigious NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Multicultural Prize 2018, and is longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award 2018. Roanna’s four-part series of radio documentaries, On the Tip of a Billion Tongues, was commissioned and broadcast by Earshot, ABC RN. She is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Endeavour Award, is co-founder and co-editor of Southern Crossings, and has a PhD from UNSW.  You can buy Sunita De Souza Goes to Sydney here.