Sita in Lanka

by Urvashi Bahuguna 

They’re burning my marital bed.

A bride who crosses an ocean
with no isthmus

will not simply return. Not even
on a shoal of boulders.

I scour for lines of salt
like the ones I have ruptured.

I anticipate a sky arched
with fire bolts.

But in this island of mariposas,
I find no gatekeepers.

I set loose a braid to Thalassa’s care.
By night my hair tastes of fish.

On the horned iliac of my hips
two seraphim sip.

Ma muddies my feet
and accepts my new faqirs

in place of stone idols
and a husband who goes by God.

From wet earth
I mold birds and dragonflies.

In my palms, they come alive.
At my touch, they choose life.



Urvashi Bahuguna’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in Jaggery, Muse India, Kitaab, Flycatcher, Cadaverine, The Four Quarters Magazine and elsewhere. She currently lives in India.