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Badaun

by Scherezade Siobhan

to mark the jutted cleft of this cornerstone,
I prepare an asphyxiation of sanskrit
the sentinel language
a congress of leftover lineage

this unsaid outlier, this bestial argument
surgical/cardinal throbbing like a sinus
her bangles of death-blue veins
her earsplitting kurta
second skin of verecund green

this abscess, this excess
this cold-blooded static
cursive in the cup
—shaped echo
who heard the water tilt
—thirst by thirst
if this isn’t a field guide
of sunspot waxwings
lynched
—as peregrine
—as marionette
when midnight discloses
its gloaming—crow’s feet
and a splinter in the bronze rut
will the hindsight open
like branches
lodged inside the opaque roost
of a naked cerebrum
a body is but a river of mud & blood
mother, the clavicle, the collarbone
the sternum, the nape, the shoulder blades
mother, the banyan spreading
a colony of tarantulas through her bones
mother, the fruit is bitter to fall
mother, the roots are a somnolent cave
mother, she is gone
mother, the scream won’t save

Shridevi, the mother of one of the Badaun rape victims, to a journalist: “You know, I gave birth to this girl twelve years ago, I nurtured her and brought her up with so many difficulties. And that morning, I saw her swinging from that mango tree in Chaudhry’s garden. You know, I sat down under the mango tree looking at my own daughter’s swinging body. I sat there for 14 hours. I kept on looking at her all the time. I remember her feet. The bodies started smelling under the sun. In those 14 hours, all I wanted was to bring her down close to my chest. But they said that we should not bring the bodies down if we want justice for our daughters. And so I kept on looking at her feet. When the police brought her body down after 14 hours, I ran to hold her in my arms, but they removed me aside, wrapped her in a cloth, and took her away immediately. I couldn’t hold her for the last time. I still see her feet. Her body keeps on swinging in front of my eyes all the time.” (Source: https://in.news.yahoo.com/where-the-girls-went–where-the-boys-came-from-070633994.html)


Scherezade-Siobhan_author-photoScherezade Siobhan is a psychologist, writer, and translator whose writing explores the themes of exile, identity, and displacement. She has been published in The Newer York, Bluestem Magazine, RiotGrrrl, PIX Quarterly, Hermeneutic Chaos Journal, and others. She is scheduled to show some of her work in European galleries in the future.

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