Shock-and-awe headlines of abandoned boats: empty vehicles
of action, all bark and masculine like the unwanted gaze of
your teacher, an older cousin, the tailor who stitched together a
periwinkle lehenga for you to twirl in, even as he pinned you,
days before your brother's wedding, against a leaning iron-
board heaving with other women's half-formed dresses.
A numbers game: won by the British long ago, but played
today by two halves of a whole who postulate as if contributing
to high art.
A he said-he said war: of vanished fishermen leaving behind
trawlers that their wives will crawl for a scent or a forgotten
Will they rejoice, any of them?
Quicksand: shins caked in the sloppy debris of secrets of the
state that turn into missives and missiles before you’ll have a
chance to visit the salt flats where travelers lose their ways,
drawn by the dancing lights of chir batti like a woman
possessed with revenge and a hunger to lure and leech.
No man’s land: a hyphen in the Arabian Sea where once,
centuries ago, your forefathers staked an ounce of blood into
the land – a claim without cartography – that spills now from
your pen, sprouting with no warning to make you pause where
it hurts even as you cry out the question burning holes in your
But what of the foremothers?