Even For Winter

they sat there in the evening light, cups of tea
and hot bhajiyas on the plastic table, people calling
out from the street as they passed, asking about their
children, their mothers, even as their wives waited
in their kitchens and bedrooms, they sat there and
thought about a pink cheeked girl, how they could
steal her, keep her, break her, destroy her, and they
smiled at the people passing and asked for more tea
and took calls from uncles and brothers and the birds
sang as they came back to their nests and they talked
of a child and how they would kidnap her and sedate
her and who would rape her and who would kill her
even as their wives waited in their kitchens and
bedrooms and their mothers prayed louder so
their sons would live longer and they asked for more
tea and smoked cigarettes till their arousals were
hidden in the dusk under the cheap plastic table and
girls, little girls, bringing goats and horses and cows
home from the hills walked past, not knowing, not
seeing, and they called out to them and asked about
their brothers and fathers and ordered more cups
of tea as their wives waited and mothers prayed
and a lone god silently cried for tomorrow and
a flag fluttered one last time in the distance.

It was cold, bitterly cold, even for a himalyan winter.



56 thoughts on “Even For Winter

  1. Brilliant poem. I love the eerie clam of sipping tea with the birds singing and planning horror as if it is just another ordinary day. The culture of misogyny and oppression of women over there must change. All the women should take to the street live together in community halls and female only buildings with their children and refuse to live or associate with men at all until they change the laws to protect women and children. They did that in Ancient Greece and it worked and worked quickly. Drastic action is needed or it will never change. Any cultural traditions that involve oppression and injustice should be tossed..


    1. You’re right, drastic change needs to come from the combined voices of people, to change centuries of misogynistic thinking. We have to hope that will happen- soon. Thanks so much Rall.


  2. I heard of this appalling gang rape. Makes one wonder what lurks in the minds/penises of evil men that they could express their hate in such a way. Your poem brings this point home and I am glad you wrote of this.


    1. Thank you Hamish… a young girl shouldn’t have to bear the burden of failure of previous generations to provide her a safe place to live. We are all complicit in a way, allowing this to happen.Tragic.


  3. that story shocked to the core and the pace of your poem is full of the normative goings on of daily, family life and yet all the while “heir arousals were
    hidden in the dusk under the cheap plastic table”

    tremendous in tone and impact


  4. Truth, Rajani. How is it that humans have been alive so long and have not yet evolved? Your poem has such power. The peaceful domestic scene, the women kept hidden, in servitude, the lustful thoughts. A poem so true it hurts. Thanks for writing it and being a voice for those young girls and women. I think of the quote in A Color Purple. “A girl child is not safe in a world of men.”


    1. A girl child is certainly not safe Sherry… from the time she is in the womb and in danger of foeticide. It’s true we haven’t evolved into compassionate beings that have conquered hate.


  5. The chill from Himalayan mountains has nothing on this piece. This is extremely powerful. The repetition drives home just how mundane something so horrific can be – and that it doesn’t have to be like this. If everyone knows, someone needs to stop it.


  6. How important it is to keep voicing this abuse that occurs in many countries still. Until such nations enact and enforce laws that protect all the world’s citizens and children, conforming nations should not deal or trade with them.


    1. There a laws and more laws…and yet…! But this is happening at different levels everywhere Robin..as evidenced recently by the #MeToo campaign. Don’t know how mindsets will change… it’s just so tragic.


    1. Thank you Tiostib. Unfortunately in a patriarchal society, abuse of women to establish power seems to flourish with impunity. One can only hope that with education and awareness, these kinds of misogynistic mindsets will change from within.


    1. Thanks Sarah. There was a horrific gang rape of a very young girl recently…an abhorrent crime that has brought people out on the streets demanding swift justice.


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