Song of the Daughter of a Mortuary Worker
written by: Archana Bahadur Zutshi
I am married, now that I have a husband to keep me warm,
I no longer sleep in winters draped with a corpse,
Which my father would move in for a morning burial!
I would snuggle up, before, for warmth,
Before it was sapped,
Before winter could seep into me.
The dead came to revive my life breath.
To the living I cannot unburden even!
If my vulnerability is revealed it will be unsettling
The highbrow claim that it is a case of a willing victimhood!
They help themselves even before a catastrophe befalls.
Persistent penury is non-injurious!
In the Parliament, what is the wager,
There is no deserving candidature,
Except that of its own party coffer.
A mortuary worker's daughter should know better,
Than ask for help, or expect a raise in life!
I dwell with my man now.
The past I forbade!
As he mows me,
With a forlorn blank face,
His static demands are meant to be met urgently.
Then he disowns me just as I had to disown my situation!
He is like the politician who has expedient urges.
It is one year now, and my belly has grown big I carry a little life in me.
This life sucks, sucks my breaths!
Draws from my heart cold, listless tears,
To remind me that I live with walls!
Can the parchment of parliament,
or governance give a woman a life?
I hear of rapists lurking outside,
My agony is sealed within this house.
Didn't I own my life when I slept with a real corpse?
A woman now I bid for the spring to break out!
She writes for literary and online Journals. Two of her chapters on Philip Larkin's poetry and the poetry of Kamala Das and Mamta Kalia have been published. Her transliteration of Hindi poems of Siryakant Tripathi, ‘Nirala’ was published in Indian Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies: An International Journal of Literature, Culture & Translation. Her poem was published in October 2018 by Spillwords.com. Her poems have been accepted by a few more International Journals.
She did her doctoral research on the poetry of Philip Larkin and Nissim Ezekiel.
Dr. A. Zutshi has a long teaching career. She is engaged in teaching at IGNOU, an Open University. She also taught at various other Colleges, and is currently engaged in teaching at Dr A P Sen Memorial Girls' PG College, Lucknow.