Meter Monday #4: Before You Were Light
by Emari DiGiorgio
for Jyoti Singh Pandey
You were India’s keepsake: a pashmina
shawl, a thumb size sandstone Taj Mahal.
Woman. Hymen. Dangerous siren.
Before you were light, six men lectured—a woman
out late is asking for trouble, an iron rod muzzle—
thrashed your body bloody, stripped song
from that shameful trollop mouth. The white bus
with tinted windows: your bruised face with eyes
blacked out. Had they a knife, would you a tongue
to name the crime and Delhi’s native sons? No god
or demon to blame, no resurrection
spell. Your father wants the world to know
your name means light. Arm-in-arm, your sisters
crowd the streets, their anger swells. They want
the men strung up. Twenty-five feet of your
intestines to crack their necks. Instead, a thousand
candles for each bash of the wheel jack;
the city’s an airstrip at night but
no one waits for a miracle to land.
*previously published in The Blueshift Journal, vol. 3