Poetry at Sangam



SUICIDE-SOLDIER by Kutti Revathi

(Translated from the Tamil by Lakshmi Holmström)

Carp-eyed Selvi,
you are about to cast aside your own clothes
and lock them away, as if they are your body.
The mirror sets to right your nakedness
which you wear as your dress. You proceed
to assemble your uniform; your weapons
and suicide belt become your body now.

Only fifteen minutes left
on life’s crawling palanquin.
The leaders command
made your heart a bomb
caught, swinging, in the web
held between his two hands.
You enter the wedding hall.
They are all changing places,
Into the last quarter-minute in the map
of each person’s life there, you step.
Holding your breath, you scream.
Before you yourself are aware, the shock
of that blast photographs your blue face
for a blinding minute. Then, roaring,
your body bursts apart, Selvi.

Thirty people were sacrificed,
it was reported.