Wife of Rama
by Karthika Solai

I have lived enough lives
to know I was Virtue,
a shadow to Substance.

the forest was your exile
and our Home.

each year a prayer
in the name of Joy.

we would not leave,
not for a pleading brother
nor a promised Kingdom
until our seven years ended.

but the golden deer was Desire,
the Holy Beggar redemption,

so I crossed the line,
safety written with an arrow tip,
and the earth opened
beneath my feet.

the beggar was a War —
a ten-headed demon
who stole me from you,
my calls unheard.

the Monkey Man who once swallowed
the Mango sun was Comfort.

the demon set his tail ablaze,
and the Man jumped and jumped.

houses burned.
a Country Burned.

he turned to you with word and
you fought for me.

You won,

and before my Substance,
My Rama,
I stood

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