Re-imagining a rape

“… Fatema, a Rohingya refugee says she was raped after her husband was murdered. The 16-year-old now doesn’t know whose baby she is carrying.” (CTV News, May 21, 2018 )


Neither a single hoot
nor a bird-cry that night
resounded through the pregnant fields
while our sister slept groaning
in the bloodied arms of our brown mother—

rain quails and eagles
hunched their heads low
while ancient river fairies
tried to wash her wounds with
prayers and warm tears of the clouds—

there were but songs echoing, of lovers
and heartbreaks, dripping endlessly
into the night sky from the radios
of the trucks and jeeps in the dark:
what wrong have I done to lose your love?

When the dark shadows left
with frosty feathers, tiny fishes plopped
desperately and offered their dance for the day—
the sun came up, the day went on, and
the world, strangely enough, stood perfectly fine.

Abhijit Sarmah


Abhijit Sarmah is a writer, poet and screenwriter from the North-east Indian state of Assam. He has one chapbook of poetry, The Voice Under Silence (February 2016), to his credit. He has contributed to various journals, including South 85 Journal, Salmon Creek Journal and others. His next collection is due for publication in 2019.

© 2019