Letter from Ramabai to her Husband by Nitoo Das

Beloved,
I’m tired
and this drying body
remembers the crane-
white of your nails tonight.

The widows come in
limp droves everyday
and my ears scorch
with their words.

Today, Shanta told me
“They gave me powders
to choke my daughter.”
Her hands kept
fluttering to her head
as if to touch
dream hair.

Sometimes
at night
I see my brother’s
ghost and we
still roam and
moan with bloated
bellies and tongues painted purple with
sour berries
and my hungry child-belly
carries Manorama
kicking and clawing inside me.

Beloved,
it rains outside and termites have grown
wings to search for frail lovers.
Soon they will
lose them and

tomorrow
I will see whispered wings
squashed to
the ground.

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