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Salt

Salt

Anamika

Salt is earth’s sorrow and its taste.
Earth’s three-fourths is brackish water,
and men’s heart a salt mountain.
Weak is salt’s heart,
very quickly it melts,
it sinks in shame
when plates are flung
due to salt’s varied strength.
There stands—
a government building—
like a salt shaker—
shakes with much sophistication, sprinkles
salt in my wound.
Women are the salt of the earth,
they have all the salt in the mould of their face.
Ask those women
how heavy it feels—
their saline faces?
All those determined to pay the salt’s price,
all those who couldn’t betray their masters
have annoyed the seven seas and
the revolutionaries.
Gandhi knew the salt’s worth
as the girl-guava-sellers.
Whether or not something
stays in the world,
there shall always be salt.
God’s tears and man’s sweat—
this is salt
that balances the earth.

translated from Hindi by Sudeep Sen

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Anamika is the author of six national award-winning poetry collections and four “biomythographic” novels. She teaches English literature at Delhi University. Her inspiration comes from the folk and metaphysical strain of the rebel bhakti poets. Currently, she is a University Grants Commission Fellow at Teen Murti Bhavan working on the dissertation, “Mothering a Nation: The Proto-Feminist Rearing of Icons Born in the early Twentieth Century.” She lives and works in New Delhi.

Anamika