That woman is here again.
She’s found her way out
from under the stairs.
For centuries she’s been weeping
a song about lost men,
the disappearance of beauty,
Now she’s back in the world,
down by the traffic lights,
in the shade of trees,
hurrying to the parlour
to fix the crack in her face.

Don’t become that woman,
my mother said,
by which she meant,
don’t become that woman
who doesn’t marry
                    or bear children.
That woman who spreads her legs,
who is beaten, who cannot hold
her grief or her drink.
Don’t become that woman.

But that woman and I
have been moving together
                                        for years
like a pair of birds
skimming the surface of water,
always close to the soft
madness of coming undone;
the dark undersides of our bodies
                                        from our reflections.

TishaniDoshi_80.jpgTishani Doshi is a writer and dancer based in Madras, India. Her first book of poems, Countries of the Body, won the Forward Prize for best first collection in 2006. The Pleasure Seekers, her first novel, was published by Bloomsbury in 2010, and has been translated into many languages. Her website is “”:

Poet’s Recommendations:

Speaking of Siva.

Selected Poems by Adam Zagajewski.

Auguste Rodin by Rainer Maria Rilke.

“Homepage photo by Rai Escalé via via Flickr ” :

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