Wingword Poetry Prize 2020 is now open. Submit your poems today!

Well Widowed

Roulie Singh

I am the white veiled widow sitting with my knees pulled up to the chest,
Looking, through the crack they make, at the crack I made on the floor.
The wooden floor near me is garnished with shattered glass of my red and green bangles.
The bangles that I once wore with pride,
The shackles of love which with each passing day kept pressing into my veins,
Until they burst open.
I know how they look at me,
How you go through a dirty magazine in the comfort of your bathroom.
A woman of flesh and blood scorned for her sanctity,
Trained, since birth, to multiply, I’m only a product to society.
When their eyes leer at my wounded nudity,
For my veil covers my mouth, not its utter obscenity,
I can sense their disgust disguised in fear and even pity.
I don't mind though. I don't object being the subject of their evening tittle-tat.
It's the only way I, to the society, can give back.

I look just like you might imagine.
My lips are farmlands sans the monsoon rain,
Moisturised by the scrounging loo of the mundane.
The tears have dried up right where the traces of kajal,
Blend with the dark spheres of despair under the eyes.
My long pointy nose still smells the fragrance,
Of the sharp sarcasm strangers leave behind when they walk past.
Strands of baby hair rise up in the air,
As if raising their arms in open prayer;
Wanting to break away and elope in all directions.
My hair, they challenge the laws of nature, the rules of gravity,
Naturally, they don’t comply with the general standards of sanity.

Oh, now don't pretend! Don't act like you don't know me.
You see, there's something very unsettling about your perplexity.
You see me every day. Your eyes linger but not for long.
Not meant for polite company, I'm just a passing thought.
You have seen me hiding behind the backbenches of classrooms.
Heard me quivering heavy sighs in the stalls of ladies room.
Seen me dig holes in the middle of a colloquy with a shovel in my throat.
You have seen me under the dark shadows,
You left behind with your back turned away.
You will keep seeing me lurking in the streets and on the roads,
And near the broken pieces of glass.

But the next time you see me.
Don't make small talk about the weather or my health,
Although it's chilly, lightning and thunder rage with fury; you should've worn a coat.
Don't ask any questions because the air around is toxic,
As when I open my mouth I spit shattered pieces of glass.
I hurl words sharp enough to pierce through the layers of your self-proclaimed comfort zones.
When the glass touches your skin, the venom spreads all through your body and numbs your bones.
So don't touch me or even come close.
For, I'm done playing parts of both the lover and the beloved.
For that love has turned my blood into poison and my lungs heave sighs of toxicity.
For my love, who died in me years ago has left me unloved, unlovable perhaps,
To lurk in the streets and on the roads.
So the next time, just pull my white veil closer to my face.
Accessorise me with the nose pin of cotton.
And let me be, let me be one with my only desire.
Let me lie with my ghost on the ashen wooden pyre.
For I am done playing this tug of war of blame,
Let my burnt desire set aflame.


2 comments

  • This is amazing!! Such original metaphors and imager. I love the narrative too :)))

    Isabella Panthenal
  • Loved this!❤️

    Suboor

Leave a comment