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The Lady in Black

by Sunaina Jain

Sunaina’s poem underscores the theme of betrayal and sexual violence through the imagery of black fabric. It plays upon the diverse connotations attached to the colour highlighting its sensuous appeal through black saree as well as its demonic intent.

Shrouded in the loose-fitted black night dress

As a ritual, she wakes up

in the dead of night

Ah! The cobwebs, the dingy dungeon and the screams!

She crouches, creeps and crawls to the mirror side

to see herself adorned in her favourite black

“You look seductive in this black saree,” he had said.

She finds herself in the echo chamber now

The reverberations shake her deep within

That day … Yes, that day

she twinkled in the shimmer of the black georgette saree

with subtle silver-striped design on the base

The off-shoulder silver-starred blouse concealed more

than it revealed her delicate contours.

The thin clingy fabric

hugging the silhouette of her body

The silver tassels on the loose end

swaying to the rhythm of  music

and caressing her bounties everywhere

An ecstasy!

He worked his mojo on her

as they downed vodka

clear as the pristine water of the ocean

An eternal, celestial slumber

And the Interval!

The two grisly satanic figures

dressed in the achromatic diabolical hues of grey

made a hasty exit.

The silver tassels silently screamed

The Queen of Seduction lost her charm.

Now she upturns the soil of her grave

in her nightmares!

All alone in a black saree!

Sunaina Jain has done Ph.D. (English) from Panjab University, Chandigarh. She is an Asst. Professor (English) at MCM DAV College, Chandigarh. Her poems have featured in the journals – The Criterion, Muse India, Galaxy, Langlit, Dialog, The Hans India, Spark magazine and South Asian Ensemble. Her poetry has also got published in an international anthology Shout it Out by Lost Tower Publications, London. Her short stories have been published on the blog of Out of Print magazine, Muse India and Indian Ruminations. She will be featured soon in an anthology of translated stories to be published by the SahityaAkademi. She is also a panelist reviewer of a literary journal Muse India.
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