Scalding pearls from her eyes splash the alpana
On the ceremonial platform
Her neck, a stiff ligament, turns with difficulty
Towards the conch blower
Who, throwing back her head
Halts, correcting her pitch.
The ululation pierces the
Bones of her skull
As she holds her stomach,
Nay, her womb
Barren and still.
So the gynecologist had said;
Pronouncing a death knell.
Relatives mill around, callous.
Her husband’s bald pate
Catches the reflection of the pandal light
As he ascends the platform to garland his new bride
Whose nubile face looks tight as she turns away
From her middle-aged bridegroom’s gaze.
Their eyes meet.
“Throw the garland around his neck!”
She throws the noose on his face
And walks away.
Their eyes meet once again…