White nights have leafy
darknesses : inscrutable.
Pathways of her mind
stay silent like streets
during curfew hours.
Grief stricken avenues
shriek, become quite.

Priya watches people
cross a distant bridge.
She cannot hear voices,
only shadows pass.
Of daughters, wives,
grandmothers in green,
red and blue sarees.

Some wear black 
burkhas, white cotton,
or reddish brown silk,
holding hands of small
children, bringing home
fresh fish and fruit.

They are the living.
She is in hell, watching
a pageant which had
place for her not so long
ago; she too had a home.

She is chained to stone.
In a nightmare words form,
lips are too dry to speak.
They bleed her tongue red.

If Priya were to jump,
people will watch her fall,
wearing a white salwar.
Her hair elongated eerily
like that of a sinful witch.

Someone will, no doubt,
go mad, screaming loud.
A crowd will gather
near the mosque, where
a fruit vendor arranges
apricots, cherries, plums
in high rise pyramids.
She might shatter them.


© Lalita Pandit, April 27, 1997

Summer rain - Bride in red - The city of dread
Sukeshi has a dream - The rishi - Self spectre

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