I looked at myself in the mirror.
Legs apart, hands on my knees, stooping over,
Counting my toes, and envisioned a woman like me,
Miles away in a strange land that was frighteningly familiar,
Sat like that.
But she was different.
She couldn't think or count toes when her hands
Clutched the bed sheets and her mouth let out a piercing wail when a fist was shoved between her slender, bare legs;
Fists of a man who looked like a famished wolf.
I saw the man pull out her intestine and lick the blood.
That streamed down her hips.
And I was here, in my warm bed, safe from harm and dishonour.
I was lucky And I was ashamed of it.
I never had to fight.
I saw the woman extend her blood-stained fingers towards me from the Mirror, hoping, maybe, that I would pull her into this dimension.
Where you did not have to live in fear.
Where you did not have to curse the creator
Who made you a female.
And I reached out to pull her to me- save her from the savage wolf; But her fingers slipped through mine and her limp naked body fell deep into the valley of oblivion where many wolves had sent many women like her.
The wolf stood up, licked his bloody lips, looked at me with contempt and walked away in pride.
I clung to my bed covers and cried myself to sleep.
I dreamt of hungry wolves eating a faceless, saree clad woman.
This cover image is a work of art by Arjun Kamath.