For Sale - a Poem

(from a Dalit woman)

by Deeya Bhattacharya

I eat rats
and my skin is tawny;
I hold you gasping
in between my thighs, shrieking
till a dead woman;

My cheeks are hollow,
my eyes bulge
I wear the kohl of cremation
the water resides in me,
yet my breasts dry from menstrual pause
I abjure, the mockery
on my itchy skin, age old
I eat rats

My skin creases, there’s a
story behind my sagging breasts
stories that sob in  my vagina, the effortless ones
to wallow in your lust and dust scraped effigies
there’s no blood for bridal beds for me
I am sentenced for life

these blank and ugly blotches
on my skin, are a concession to
the caste I wear, the skin I bleed.