A poem by N T Rajkumar

(This is one of five poems published in World Literature Today . Norman: May-Aug 2004. Vol. 78 , Iss. 2; pg. 59 , 1 pgs under the title “Five Tamil Dalit Poems” by Rajkumar, N T, Sivanarayanan, Anushiya.)

For the family

to gain religious merit

in the next life,

they fed the poor full of rice.

Then, when the girl from Kollathi

began to wash the dishes

in the back lot,

she was forced into intercourse.

After feeding on her

the Brahmin promised to come

in his next life, too.

She killed herself and

now comes

as the goddess of Kollangottu,

screaming for human sacrifice.

Lusting after women and gold,

he married the dancer with lies of love

then stoned her to death

amid the thorns

of the cactus fields.

You are my witnesses, she cried

to the cacti as she died.

The dark-blue goddess of the cactus fields

demands blood-filled rice,

transmogrifies into the midnight

goddess lsaki.

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