Earth’s offspring born from clay and hay
with sundried faces pockmarked by unexpected rain.
            Jute-haired    third-eyed    nose-ringed—
they wear pith hats over satin clothes.   
Neighbors name them:    Parvathi    Basanti    Shakuntala—

Their mother begs them to come again soon.
They chew betel leaf and whisper into each other’s ears.     Bare feet,
they carry weapons made of tin foil.    They jingle glass bangles
fake cry
            leave with their husbands:
the bull rider    the lotus surfer     the hill dweller.

Next monsoon
their father picks their remains from a river:
firewood bones    terracotta skulls    chestnut eyes.

- Sankar Roy