(Inspired by a painting by Sufia Khatoon, created for the 6th Woman Scream International Poetry and Arts Festival 2016, commemorating on the occasion of International Women’s Day, March 8, 2016).
Hail you, woman, who do you love so, the bleeding yarns of your footwork nudging his needs? Is it a ramp, or a catwalk in seductive slivers of silk and embroidered, perky clothing, where you float around, your kohl-lined eyes, barbecued in the carnival of sweaty, sloppy, alcohol-littered breath?
“Soon enough, you would grow up, your breasts would ripen, bounce, in the wilderness amongst beasts”, the world had whispered in patches and freckles of adult talk. The feet had then blistered and burnt in the gushing secrets of your newfound shoes. You crisscrossed, hopped through the sylvan steps, trailing through blocked, clogged pores.
Whose name do your feet scribble on the banks of the insistent scarlet flood, as the shards of the night come over to you in spurts? Whose name do you call out, huskily, rustling, while your fingers and bones fail you, scraped, twisted, painted in the graveyard of your bridal dreams?
Soon enough, your bronzed fingers had fluttered around the tulsi plant of his home, made him fluffy chapatis, the moonrise in the window sill watching over his pulsating, primal torrents and moans. Your cascading hair, dangling in braids with palaash, the red spring flower, swaying in rhythm with the rain-drenched spots your feet slipped through—jagged, dripping, jagged, dripping. He never knew your inner fabric, your tarnished shades. Soon enough, your husk and your grains were severed; he knew your foliage, your cycles.
Whose crops do you reap in the harvest, walking barefoot, slithering beneath your dark, shadowy veil, gulping your chipped breaths, and his estrangement? Talaaq, talaaq, talaaq, three obvious, boiling hot bullets ripping the heart inside out…shameless zenana, don’t you dare drift in when the masculine smell hovers, bee-like, voyeuristic, in other silken branches. Polygamy, picking and pecking, the sacred hymns of the Hindu scriptures, the epics, and the Shariyat, the dripping, bleeding edges of your ghazal…
Soon enough, your eyes had wanted to scan, gobble and taste the evening raaga of the sky. The feet, stringed, hopscotch through the laxman rekha, bursting out in red rain. Has it been your fault then, the crackling, the itching over to open up in flaming verses, working your way through their folds, in much the same ardour with which you had opened your ornate vermilion box? The ruptured skin of the kisses they had kissed, the whips they had seared you with, the folded laundry of their overused bed and abuses, the sulphuric acid of their fatwa lie beneath your feet, crumbling. Let the feet bleed some more, let there be an epitaph of the dried blood in the ground that you tread.
Amazon link of ‘Let The Night Sing’:
Lopamudra Banerjee is an award-winning author, poet and editor from Dallas, Texas. She is the author of ‘Thwarted Escape’ (Authorspress, 2016) and her debut poetry collection ‘Let The Night Sing’ has recently been published by Global Fraternity of Poets.
Photo credit: Sufia Khatoon