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Here I Lie: A #Poem On Dowry Death

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By Reeti Singh:

Smiling blisters of a burned, whipped body-
Lie here I, my dear Sir.
Cracked wounds bleeding blood,
Scars-
Black, red, blue and purple.

 

From father’s home,
I came encased in silken weaves of bridal prescriptions,
And with me came all that you kind Sirs demanded, and more…
Hoarded together and brought to your door-
Ahead of the palanquin that bore me,
Ahead of me, when welcomed to my future abode.

Greedy eyed, you kind Sirs examined the harbinger,
You kind Ladies took care of my jewels and precious yarns of traditional looms .
Promptly directed I was to march to the bedroom-
Where you lay, hungry eyed…

It took you not much time
To take care of the thin cotton sari imputed to me, –
My constant and sole attire within the household gates…
Now there it lies,
Charred, breathing its last-
Lashed by flame-licked wounds,
Drained of all its years of falsified adornment.

For years now I have served your family,
Washed your father’s, brother’s and mother’s underwear-
Swept the floors, swabbed every corner.
Cooked many meals, washed utensils, milked the cow-
Served your bed.

Satiated never was still your soul,
Not yours, nor your kind gendered family’s.
You kind Sirs and Ladies wanted more,
More and more and so much more-
A son you demanded,
You planted one and got it too-
But not once, not twice, nor thrice was enough still,
And so you planted another one of your little future-heirs in my fatigued, voided womb.

And then she came…
My little one…
I watched with silenced anguish,
While you drowned her in a bucket full of water-
My child… no older than an hour-while’s life…
but she was no heir,
She was but a burden-
Whose palanquin’s harbinger, to you now seemed a besetment-
She then became a bundle to be gotten rid of,
As was I-
When married at the age of thirteen,
To you my dear Sir…

Here I lie,
Here I lie-
Burnt, whipped, thrashed-
Punished appropriately for the birth of the nuisance,
Punished appropriately for the years I served.
Punished for I could not give you more-
More and more and so much more!

Here I lie,
Awaiting my much deserved end.
For no more gifts were left to be sent from my father’s home,
No more heirs had I to add to your gendered kin-peer of gendered Sirs and Ladies.
And therefore here I lie.

Here I lie,
Here I Lie-
Oozing wounds of a thrashed, flame-licked body-
Lie here I, my dear Sir.
Cracked wounds bleeding blood,
Scars-
Black, red, blue and purple.

Img.

You must be to comment.
  1. ashish choudhary

    I think i cried a little somewhere in between…:(
    its…its…aah…u cant actually put that mixed feeling of aggravation, anger and thoughts bubbling in mind together when its over…:|
    seriously…
    WHY would u?… HOW could u ?
    Well…
    U did a part of your part in what needs to be done… CONGRATS…:)
    great work…AGAIN !!!

  2. harsh

    i have been positively stalking YKA’s website for your poems, ma’am!
    and, once again, you managed to shake my nerves!
    reading your poem always does that.
    you’ve written so beautifully about this evil, and merged not just 1 or 2, but as ashish says, many feelings and facets into this poem.
    hats off to such a strong, and very bare poem that clearly is a slap across the face of society at large for executing as well as co-existing with such evils in the society.
    you’re a blessing, ma’am!
    if only there were more like you who truly would do something about it.
    you raise the bar higher every single time you write, and what amazes me is the reaction you manage to throw the reader into. i feel jostled to my very core every time i read your work.
    you truly dig a niche and then plant your message firmly with you r writing, Reeti. keep it up, and the world- learn a lesson!
    here is a young lady going out of her way to show you what it is to be where you “throw your garbage”. a very strong message being sent out here.

  3. zubair darzi

    The web of words which is creating harmony and conveying the message-this is my description of the poem..well written

  4. M.M. Sri

    “Cracked wounds bleeding blood,
    Scars-
    Black, red, blue and purple.”

    omg!
    it takes GUTS to even think of such frightening images.

    “From father’s home,
    I came encased in silken weaves of bridal prescriptions,”

    wow!

    “Promptly directed I was to march to the bedroom-”
    so crisp!

    “Lashed by flame-licked wounds,
    Drained of all its years of falsified adornment.”

    “Washed your father’s, brother’s and mother’s underwear-”

    “And then she came…
    My little one…
    I watched with silenced anguish,
    While you drowned her in a bucket full of water-
    My child… no older than an hour-while’s life…”

    had me choking as i was struggling back tears.

    “Here I lie,
    Here I Lie-
    Oozing wounds of a thrashed, flame-licked body-
    Lie here I, my dear Sir.
    Cracked wounds bleeding blood,
    Scars-
    Black, red, blue and purple.”

    so perfect!!!!

    what should i say about the poem? its a social marker, a literary masterpiece.
    had the feeling as though someone had slapped me and could feel the ringing in my ear long after.

  5. rajeev

    a salute to the writer. very vivid, very crisp.

  6. avantika

    stirring piece of writing. the subject has been dealt with so b’fully!
    no detail has been spared. its right there, in front of you.
    very well written, and very effective too!

  7. rishabh

    you’re determined to bring about a chaange, i see. there is no way such writing cannot make you think twice-thrice and many more times! and still keeps you thinking after words. its so coherently written that i could easily connect to it and imagine the entire flow as easy as 1-2-3!
    but yes, it was not an easy thought to think. respect to the writer for the having the grit to write Here I lie…
    words used well, good work Reeti! KEEP IT UP!
    proud of seeing a woman’s writing,and with such strond force!

  8. anish

    A worthy n honest piece of writing,..u r very good at sensitive issues of ths society….keep writing for social awareness.GUDLUCK

  9. saloni

    hats off!

  10. shruti

    Reeti, you have potrayed the plight so very well.i fall short of words to write,and am compiled to write still because you have gone through the effort of pinning down every single thought, every single moment in such an exacting manner.

  11. Isha Singh

    Its a really touching poem which shows that how much u r sensitive and well known of the situations the girl or a woman hv to face…hats off ….

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