Poems on Incarceration and Acid Attacks by Jhilmil Breckenridge

The Woman Inc.


Image courtesy stamptoscana.it

Lakshmi’s Eyes

Only the eyes remain as they were.
The rest of her face is ravaged
by acid. Acid thrown by two
boys on a cycle. Just
another dare.

She combs her long hair carefully. Plaits it
neatly away from her face. No curtain of hair
to hide behind. Puts a bindi in the battleground
of keloids, scars and uncooked skin. She wears
them well.

The boys genuflect in a temple, mothers kissing
saffron kerchief covered heads
before they gel their hair
and go on another prowl. This is what
men do, you see.

Lakshmi puts another layer
of cream on her burns and then stands
behind a beauty counter selling bindis
and lipsticks to girls with unblemished faces,
like their eyes. Like her eyes.



If you stare out of a window
Across a bleak garden some September morning
If the neem tree in the…

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