Ballade des Pendues


by Amit Majmudar

Badaun District, Uttar Pradesh

Two dupattas knotted
to a mango tree
elevate these girls
for the world to see

Platforms out of nature
raise the Goddess
Durga on a tiger
Laxmi on a lotus

Two dupattas stretch taut
from a hanging tree
Villagers are climbing
up the tree to see

Sarasvati seated
picks at her sitar
Rati rides a parrot
Ashvini rides the stars

Constellated here
two girls of lowly birth
orbit in a picture
six feet off the earth

Parvati is daughter
of the Himalayas
snowfall her dupatta
Everest her dais

Everything was hidden
now all of us can see
two dupattas knotted
to a mango tree

About the Author:

Amit Majmudar is the author of the poetry collections 0˚, 0˚ (2009), which was a finalist for a Poetry Society of America’s Norma Faber First Book Award, and Heaven and Earth (2011). Majmudar has also published the novels Partitions (2011) and The Abundance (2013). His poetry has been featured in several anthologies, including Best of the Best American Poetry 1988–2012 (2013, edited by Robert Pinsky) and The Norton Introduction to Literature (2012, 11th edition, edited by Kelly J. Mays). He has also contributed essays to the Kenyon Review blog, the New York Times, and poems to The New York Review of Books. His third poetry collection, Dothead, is forthcoming from Knopf in 2016. Majmudar lives in Dublin, Ohio, and works as a diagnostic nuclear radiologist.