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2 poems by Ashwini Bhasi - The Feminist Wire

2 poems by Ashwini Bhasi

Dowry

 

 

We gave 125 pavans of gold to weigh you down—a kilo

of yellow that gleamed like a tiger’s eye

 

or like that decayed tooth that stood ready

to be plucked from your grandmother’s mouth.

 

Grandmother didn’t survive, nor your mother,

her third degree burns. Gas stoves may explode

 

when dowry payments are delayed. But you have

an MBA from CU-SAT and in this wedding sari

 

flaming red with forests and palaces woven in

with golden thread—you look just like your mother.

 

In fact, with 20 bangles on each arm and those jumbled

necklaces slithering down your neck

 

to nestle in that 8-hand-fold tuck

of your sari—you look even better.

 

Go make us proud drowned in gold.

 

**

 

The House Gecko

 

           

You lurked on the whitewashed ceiling

of my childhood with its single tube light.

 

Pretty moths flew towards you, thirsty

for light—their delicate shapes covered

 

with raw intricate patterns, drawn

in powder colors—mine were smeared

 

by the touch of a man’s calloused hand.

The moths fluttered in the florescence

 

till you crawled, ceiling alligator!

In seconds, each wing was bitten off.

 

They ran in silence—writhing bodies burning

in the naked light, with you in merciless

 

pursuit—pale rubber belly slithering,

filled with translucent shapes of wings.

 

**

Ashwini_Bhasi-Ashwini_BhasiAshwini Bhasi lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and analyzes DNA sequences for disease-causing mutations during the workday and cannot stop writing poetry at night and on weekends. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Driftwood Press, Eunoia Review, and Cyclamens and Swords. She writes poems to make sense of the mind-body connection of her chronic pain, her life as an immigrant and the duality of her experiences as a scientific data analyst and poet.