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Elegy for India's Daughter

      for Jyoti Singh, victim of the Delhi gang rape, December 2012

They called me fearless. I did not ask
           to become India's Daughter. I was only

my father's daughter, light of his eyes,
           he who named me light, and then named

me to the world. The rest was irrelevant—
           the politicians & activists, the discourse

& disquisitions, the speeches & placards,
           the candles, vigils, prayers, and protests,

the prime minister himself at the airport
           to receive the body I had at last escaped.

It was too much too late, the pomp
           & grandeur of the funeral pyre. I am become

the dust of the land, as once my entrails
           mingled with the dust of a street in Delhi.

Bharat is bleeding. Why didn't the earth
           unclose her womb to welcome her Jyoti

as she did her Sita? I will not concede
           to myth or metaphor. I am a consort of fire,

the dawn inflamed, the flagrant sun.


Nausheen Eusuf

The American Scholar

Winter 2018

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