daayan summons the village "goddess”



at the altar, men must hover around you

strangely, squatting in the wet dirt, waiting


for a sign. they must praise your forehead—

sindoor traced from part to temple


just so—the kumkuma perfect circle, so centered,

surely your aura must be pure. o, the jewel


you have called yourself, woman with light eyes,

woman i tended with, contended with—


how we laughed when the men couldn’t keep

their gaze off you. now, they imagine you


too radiant. they’re seeing pastel pink

emanate off you in waves. never mind—


i’m outside, in the rain, trailing fingers

through the mud to make sure you know


i was here. the puddles keeping me company

are dim mirrors—or maybe i’m the one


who’s faded—but dark magic thrives on fair

suns. inside, they chant for you, bless the parts


of you inclined to destroy (old friend, can’t

you see : all women crave a burning). brief silence


from beyond the trees. they shout

my name. i press a seedling

                                            to the earth.