Mallika Sengupta Poems
The Husband's Black Hands
The moment she tucks in the mosquito net and goes
to bed, her husband's black hands fumble after
the snakes and frogs of her body: 'You're hurting me!
Let go!' In anger, those black hands twist her breasts.
He says, 'Listen here, Sweta, don't be coy.
If ever I find even the evening star
gesturing to you, or making eyes,
I'll see that you fall into a hellish pit.'
Sweta's white thighs swing back and forth in space
clinging to the back, her husband's black back.
[Translated by Carolyne Wright and Paramita Banerjee]