The interior love poem
the deeper levels of the self
dates when the abandonment
of certain principles occurred
The role of courtesy—how to enter
a forest, how to touch
a master’s feet before lesson or performance
The art of the drum. The art of eye-painting.
How to cut an arrow. Gestures between lovers.
The pattern of teeth marks on skin
drawn by a monk from memory
The limits of betrayal. The five ways
a lover could mock an ex-lover
The skill in tentative messages
which included yes and no
but never the direct maybe
Nine finger and eye gestures
to signal key emotions
The small boats of solitude
Lyrics that rose
back into air
naked with guile
Our works and days
We knew how monsoons
would govern behaviour
and when to discover
the knowledge of the dead
hidden in clouds
in rivers, in unbroken rock
All this was burnt
or traded for power and wealth
from the eight compass points of vengeance
from the two levels of envy
What we Lost
‘When I think of menopause I don’t think of hot flashes; I am not here to talk about hot flashes.’ Mary Ruefle on menopause.
Urvashi Butalia on the life of transgender Mona Ahmed and her search for a feminine identity.
The Weak Spot
‘Murder class was the new thing, but of course they didn’t call it that. They called it Specialised Life Skills for Girls.’ – Sophie Mackintosh
woman is a construct
‘woman is basically meant / to be a residential complex’ – A poem by Angélica Freitas, translated from the Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan.
Rachel Cusk on motherhood, marriage and separation.
‘I was overcome by a feeling that took root then and has never left me, the feeling that in this land that was someone else’s country, I did not have a place to stand.’
The Divine Pregnancy in a Twelve-Year-Old Woman
Sagnik Datta’s ‘The Divine Pregnancy in a Twelve-Year-Old Woman’ is the Asian regional winner of the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
The Man Who Lived
Snigdha Poonam on how WhatsApp is being used to encourage mob violence in India.