There before the crack of dawn,
down by the holy river,
men start their chants
welcoming the new day before it is born.

Their rhythmic movement to the language of the Gods reverberates in her ears
as she stirs in her sleep, ever so slightly,
dreaming of the paradise they keep singing about.

For Sita’s golden hue in the garden across the sea leaves them yearning for more
and her hunt for a golden deer, a sadistic command they must fulfill.
And so they dance to the tune of the flute that played when she returned
and the Gods smiled upon mere mortals once more.

For even if stolen, her sanctity must remain intact
and the man that brought her back,
larger than life, is purer than the earth he was born out of.

She gets up and fixes the nine yards wrapped loosely around her
streaming off onto the floor like endless seas.
The wooden berth creaks as she lifts her numb feet off to the side
and stares down at her faint reflection.

A sheet of white seems to surround her,
clinging firmly to her sagging skin as it fills the minute crevices around her bare waist.
Her hands delicately linger there for a moment,
devoid of ornamentation, embellished with wrinkles,
as she remembers the rules of her imposed identity.

She gets up to watch the dawn as the men take dips into the holy water now
with just a white thread down their bare torsos,
seemingly spun from the same yarn as her impurity.

And between the divide of divine and mortal,
stands her existence,
waiting for the Earth to tear open once more
and wrap its arms around her,
transcending her soul from this world and beyond.


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