In the absence of wealth

Our mothers passed down to us

Stifled teardrops and

Gleaming beads of sweats.


We cradled them in our beings

Turning them into crystal balls

To gaze through


Our submarined sorrows with.

And found credential there

For all our pains.




Had I sprouted wings at the first thaw of innocence

Instead of measly breasts and clumsy hips

I might have learnt the intricacies of flight.

As it is I can only shuffle my feet


And now

Not even that,

What with

November still

Breathing half bitten stories

My way.




Where I come from

All the girls, they

Know too well

The stilting security of oppression

The cruel confinement of comfort

And a word for it-



Our mothers taught us

The shade of the sky

From a box of crayons

And went back to the kitchen

Where they had left the darkness

Boiling on the stove.


We were left to trace out the map of the world

On our parched, earthen stretches of skin.

The salt of the sea in the moistening of our eyes

The fresh air of hill stations trapped between our lips.

Cliffs on our torsos, the precarious  game of holding on

And the wild forests of desire between our legs

We dare not explore.


They closed the curtains on us

Dressed up ignorance in a veil

Called it protection, called it shame.

But with the sunshine so insistent

How could we emerge unscathed

Or anything but well versed

In the ways of infinity?

-Madhubrata Bhattacharya


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