Vivekanand Jha’s most recent poem to appear here was Let me live even in the dark (May 2010).
By Vivekanand Jha
Custom curses the widow
and blesses the widower
widow, a horse with bridle;
widower, a tiger without fetters.
Stand two victims in a sea of sympathy:
all waves sway toward the widower
while stranded at seashore, widow sees
wordlessly all worldly ebbs and flows.
It matters little whether he is
alcoholic, gambler, or pimp;
all he needs is to be a man of means and
he savors a fresh offer of brides
sweet sixteen and certified virgin.
But a widow, even if she is
authentic, ascetic, and aesthetic
having not spent a single conjugal night,
even married but untouched,
if struck by stigmatic widowhood
she struggles to seek or solemnize
a stale or leftover mate for herself.