Ourselves or Nothing

ourselves or nothing

seeking my eyes on your face

i long for our complicity

bankers with guns patrol

the streets and our sister’s

children go growing hunger 

like a poisonous fungus.

ourselves or nothing

the woman we did not choose

whose breasts sagged over her belly

the colour of her skin, our skin

the colour of her eyes, our eyes

hands which crack with work

perhaps it was those hands

we were destined for

in my sister’s house

nothing but rice

o the unsung victory of the evening meal

sound of dishes washed and put away

in my sister’s house

we lay on a mat

and in the space between 

floor and door, the wind

persistent as a tax collector

for even our small warmth

ourselves or nothing

i sought you in my own hands

you look for me in fists raised

placards, evening light

my face drifts toward you 

on a note, in a line of some half-

remembered poem or slogan

and that is what was meant by life:

ourselves or nothing

copyright @ Kaushalya Bannerji, A New Remembrance, TSAR , Toronto, 1993

2 thoughts on “Ourselves or Nothing

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