until death do us apart
she fed her dreams into the village well,
and wept as she drew water for the last time.
that night u tore into her flesh,
she cried out and bit into her lip.
after that, the shadows on the wall
of trembling mango leaves became her lover,
she imagined their thousand caresses
and quivered as you used her.
you decided when you should hear her and when not.
so she silenced the utensils and your babies.
and she stopped her tears in her belly.
she bore you three sons who would loathe you,
yet grow up to be you.
and a daughter with clammy palms.
the boys moved away young, bombay called.
the girl married off to a landed man who loved men.
and the years from then on crawled.
when the manhood that had risen and
thrust with arrogance forgot how to,
the back of your hand cracked on her face,
and silenced her silence.
this until your body grew weak
and your skin crawled away from your flesh
and one morning your body lay still.
as you slipped away she prayed and
wept and beat her breasts
the marrow of her bones and the breath of her life
she would give if she could, she wailed,
for what would become of her if you were gone.
she has learnt to be a shadow
and she learnt to be the shade.
she has learnt to rise from death at dawn.
why would she rise again
when her rhyme and reason is gone.
© 2007 Padmavani Karkera