Jessica Reidy’s prose and poetry weave stories from her European Romani grandmother and other ancestors with her own experiences as a second-generation, part-Romani American woman. Reidy creates her works in English. She desires to maintain her Romani family traditions, which have included telling fortunes, dancing, and reading tea leaves, at the same time that she wants to debunk stereotypes of Romani women in particular as erotic and deceptive.
Why the Pyres are Unlit portrays traditions that her grandmother passes down, including beliefs in mule (death spirits) and the devil (_o beng), taboos regarding housekeeping and cleanliness, and natural medicinal remedies.
Source of text sample
Reidy, Jessica. s.a. Why the Pyres Are Unlit. In Drunken Boat 22. https://perma.cc/FFR9-M9NP [http://www.drunkenboat.com/db22/romani/jessica-reidy]