Woman by a well – Jit Bhattacharya, Kolkata


She squats by the well
jet black hair knotted up tight
sari bunched around her waist
the small of her dark bare back
glistening in the hot sun
moving in fluid motion bending
forward swinging back ( ) in half circles
her shoulder blades taut ( ) against
sun-baked, dark crimson skin
undulating like black velvet sheen
oozing musky odours dense
she pounds linen on the stones wet

From water running, spraying jets
her conch shaped haunches full
muscles moving like pistons
in rhythm with deliberate grace
her dark angular face ( ) in half scowl
hair lip pursed in soft down
ink black eyes sharp focused
head bends down/up in short waves
the wet of armpits, spreading
under her blouse, ( ) flashes
strands of hair fall to her sides
as folds of her ample breasts shake
thud, thud, thud on the stones wet

She could be a housemaid,
A fruit seller, A mother,
some villager’s wife dutiful & obedient
silent to most, not much education
but here ( ) at this time,
in this moment
she is a keeper of all that is known
and that remains unexplained
A force mighty and sensual in motion
churning a vortex all consuming
A Kali reincarnate at work
(by the stones)
in reshaping the world and its innocence


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