☛ Submission for October, 2024 issue (Vol. 5, No. 2) is going on. The last date for submission is 30 September, 2024.





-Rajiv Khandelwal (India)


The feverish, fatigued 

Middle-aged woman

Her spirit worn and weary

Bore the weight of sorrow upon her shoulders

Each step heavy with the weight of loss


Her tears, suppressed torrential downpour

Left her heart raw and bleeding

After the labyrinth of bureaucracy and social support

Cold-shouldered her in a maze of indifference

Buried themselves ostrich-like

Leaving her lost in the gloom of abandonment


The government-run hospital

Gave her a body

In a sealed leak-proof plastic body bag


They said it was her husband’s body

She could do nothing but believe


She had recently lost

Her bread-earning son

And now her full of life

Projecting the feel of living forever

Truck driver husband

Had succumbed too 

To corona


She could neither ask for

Emotional and material help

From her caste

For she was under familyandsocial boycott

As she had married inter-caste


Nor request support

From some 

Remaining loyal friends

For mere disclosing

Her current location

Could make her the target

For ‘honour killing’

As her brothers

After all these years

Were still searching for her


To perform the last rites

The staff of the free crematorium

Was asking for four figure amounts


She now had no money

And at this crisis time

Could think of no one

To ask for contribution


Through the tears and torment

She knew not what to do

But like Savitri

She had her Satyavan-husband’s head on her lap

In a lovers doleful embrace




      Pleadedfor strength

      Through the labyrinth of her soul