a portrait of kali in the dark By Lakshmi Mitra

a portrait of kali in the dark

for centuries, men have bowed their heads
before me. they tell me they know me. the tang
of blood is strong, like nectar-wine. i
have cleaved the skulls of sages, of kings. have
supped from the flesh of despot gods.
each temple stone, each sacred place. knows
a warsong. i grow too ancient to play at
holywoman. i dream in sable, in mourning-white.
i dream of being fragmented by the ganges and of her
glacial song. my scimitar sleeps. sings of
mother’s milk. mountains. the sky in the north.

i have made mistakes. (but have i
not done right?) do these men who
worship a blood goddess know. their wives come
to see me in the dark. they caress my lion’s matted mane,
offer me hibiscus for my blood. jasmine, lotus,
for my soul. they ask for freedom.
they ask for love. i let them
chant peace prayers for me, smear sandalwood
on skin. i let them love me.

i have made mistakes. when i stand
in front of the guardians of svarga, they will weigh
my sins. dead fathers, dead sons will
whisper my wrongs.

women will rub the vermillion from their hair
and rise.

i have made mistakes. i
have only ever tried to do right.

By Lakshmi Mitra


Lakshmi Mitra is a 19 year old college student living in Kolkata who occasionally frustrates herself into a bout of writing. When not doing so, she can be found reading, studying, craving sleep, and complaining. She is mostly polite, a lousy conversationalist, and doesn’t like sudden movements. Therefore, it comes as a great surprise to her that her cats still don’t like her. She blogs at thiswinterheart.tumblr.com

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