The Seventh Daughter

The Seventh one,

Why did you have to barge

In the house where the kitchen chimney is perennially cold?

The little body afloat on the still water of the pond.

Exclaimed the trees all around craning downward,

Doesn’t she resemble her mother?

Mother? Where is she? Petrified in her bed, motionless,

Hands bloodstained, breasts dry as brush

Mere hunger has vaporized all emotions of kindness,

Sympathy and warmth.

The busy jeep screeched to a halt in front of the

Ramshackle house just now.

Look here officer, will you answer just one question?

The police never bothers to visit the hungry babies starving to death.

Why bother today — you are so awfully busy always, aren’t you?

Good Heavens! this is a clear case of murder-strangled to death!

What is the country coming to? Mothers turning into murderers!

The mother beaten moderately was dragged io the jail van.

The neighbours went in shadows, the trees sniggered openly.

The officer called it a day after the new mother was put behind the bars.

Officer’s nightprowl starts at the jeweller’s shop

Banabala, his wife, does wifely make up with creams and lotions.

His sons play carroms, the daughter pushes away the milk bowl

The boat sails in the river with the booty of arms under the bow.

Deep in the midnight the tipsy officer and the wife engage

In copious coition. Abandoning the dress to the floor they address

Themselves soundly enough. Come now,

The seventh daughter, wedge yourself into the empty womb

The kitchen is ever warm in this household, mother’s breast full of milk.

Come, reclaim your position here now in this earth.

Translated from Bengali by Keya Majumdar.

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