Rita Bhattacharjee

Cerulean Blue

She had carefully tucked away pain in magic glass jars,
Where undead memories bided time, plotting resurrection.
What a beautiful hue of blue pain is!
Cerulean blue — like the crayons I loved as a child, she mused,
as she labeled the jars one by one.

Something was amiss, she knew, with a sinking heart –
Why was her bath water blue?
Was Cerulean blue the color of an unborn’s blood
Before it mixed with the mother’s in the bacchanalia of birth?

Electric bolts of searing pain;
Impaled her, Christ-like, against cold, blue tiles —
Choking the unshed tears,
Wiping the impotent scream off her lips.

The steam-smeared mirror dissolved into smudged crayon-blue eyes
overflowing with silent screams.
Deafened, she desperately fumbled for yet another magic glass jar
to stow away her Cerulean pain.

 

I, Woman
I

I was born on a stormy night in July.
I don’t know the date —
no one does.
Poverty has a short memory.

My mother gave birth in a cubby hole by the railroad tracks.
Rain washed her bloodied thighs
baptizing me.
A hollow promise of redemption.

She cut the umbilical cord herself,
with a new blade.
She had even sterilized it with cheap alcohol.
She wanted me to live.

A woman like no other am I —
I have dared to dream of my fistful of sky.

II

Soil, seasons and squalor fed me for seventeen years.
My full breasts belied hunger
And tested modesty.
Predator-eyes leered at every turn.

I spread my legs to the first man
who declared undying love,
I had to leave behind the stench of the railroad tracks.
He was to be my saviour.

Glass bangles in rainbow hues
sparkled in my kohl-lined eyes.
The jasmines He brought me every night
met a happy death on the marital bed.

A woman like no other am I —
I have dared to dream of my fistful of sky.

III

I gave birth
as a bomb exploded on a local train,
killing Him.
My daughter would never meet her father.

I braved the sun and rain
to keep Her alive.
Every bone ached at the end of the day.
My flesh rejoiced.

She walks to school,
blue ribbons flashing in pigtails.
She’s Ananya —
my phenomenal woman-to-be.

A woman like no other am I —
I have dared to live my fistful of sky.

 

Beauty

Her kohl-lined eyes
are serpents in disguise
ensnaring prey.

Her blood-red lips,
barely hide the venomous blue
underneath.

Her Helenesque face
is a painted mask
behind which maggots fester.

Her flawless body
unzips to reveal a tarnished soul
with delusions of virginal innocence.

________________________________________________________________

Rita Bhattacharjee is a communications consultant with extensive experience in project management, strategic planning, and integrated marketing communications. She has managed corporate and internal communications for multimillion-dollar companies across diverse industries, as well as for several nonprofit organizations. She is currently channeling her skills towards social entrepreneurship to increase awareness and reduce disparity in public health through effective global epidemiological research and training, development of information technology platform and deployment of mobile healthcare and alternative medical solutions. In the midst of it all, she remains a poet at heart.

About Copperfield

Since 2000, The Copperfield Review has been a leading market for short historical fiction. Copperfield was named one of the top sites for new writers by Writer's Digest and it is the winner of the Books and Authors Award for Literary Excellence. We publish short historical fiction as well as history-based nonfiction, poetry, reviews, and interviews.
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