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Due to some technical issue, the October issue (Vol. 3, Issue 2) is to be published either in the last week of November or the first week of December, 2022. Inconvenience is regretted.

THE TRIAL - Tapan Kumar Pradhan (India)

 


THE TRIAL

-       Tapan Kumar Pradhan (India)

 

Are you sure this is what happened –

Your statement, I mean

is it all true ?

 

          How many times shall one speak under oath? I was a child

I used to dream a lot – during daytime, even in classroom

Sometimes teacher asked something, and I answered

hurriedly, and all the girls burst out laughing, laughing...

 

But there is not a single injury. No tear

on the clothes. I mean, no signs

of any struggle at all

 

          Father took me once to the butcher’s shop

I saw the giant steel blade glisten, dripping red

With a single white flash the bird was silent

Not even a flutter in the wings, no croaking

 

Can you tell exactly how it happened, I mean

Exact position. How many were they

Exact places they touched

 

          it was a narrow alley where even noon was dark

a bearded shopkeeper used to sit me on his lap

and offer me candies (and a doll). Later the boys

snatched my doll away, and pulled out all its hairs

I cried, but they put two oranges inside my frock

And pressed till I was drenched. Holy cow, they teased

 

Our lady officer who did the finger tests

has this to say, I mean – how do I

I mean, you are habituated

 

          Yep, the campus does it to you, as you sleepwalk

into smoking den sat 2 am, before its lonely nights

devour you. If you kept away, you did not belong

 

The dress you were wearing that night

Is it, I mean -is this what

You normally wear?

 

          I was a rebel girl. That little pink double frilled frock

          My dead mom got stitched for my twelfth birthday

          I hated it. The moment I reached home I threw it

          On the floor. Tomboy – they called me. Tomboy

 

But you did know all of them, didn’t you

You knew ‘em for last six months

You visited that flat earlier

 

Yes! Yes! I did all that. Yes, I alone am guilty!

Hang me. Shoot me. Rip open my abdomen

Bloody finish the work you’ve already started

 

Long ago.

 

****