OUR LADY OF THE LIGHT CONVENT, KERALA
The sister here is telling my mother
How she came to collect children
Because they were crippled or dark or girls.
Found naked in the streets,
Covered in garbage, stuffed in bags,
Abandoned at their doorstep.
One of them was dug up by a dog,
Thinking the head barely poking above the ground
Was bone or wood, something to chew.
This is the one my mother will bring.
* * *
MILWAUKEE AIRPORT, USA
The parents wait at the gates.
They are American so they know about ceremony
And tradition, about doing things right.
They haven't seen or touched her yet.
Don't know of her fetish for plucking hair off hands,
Or how her mother tried to bury her.
But they are crying.
We couldn't stop crying, my mother said,
Feeling the strangeness of her empty arms.
* * *
This girl grows up on video tapes,
Sees how she's passed from woman
To woman. She returns to twilight corners.
To the day of her birth, How it happens in some desolate hut
Outside village boundaries
Where mothers go to squeeze out life,
Watch body slither out from body,
Feel for penis or no penis,
Toss the baby to the heap of others,
Trudge home to lie down for their men again.
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