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Two Moths

Two Moths

By Aimee Nezhukumatathil

      Some girls        on the other side of this planet


                   will never know        the loveliness


       of   walking      in a crepe silk sari.      Instead,


they will spend        their days                          on their backs


   for a parade               of   men           who could be       their uncles


       in another life.         These girls memorize


                    each slight wobble                  of   fan blade as it cuts


       through the stale       tea air and auto-rickshaw


                     exhaust,        thick as egg curry.


Men         shove greasy rupees        at the door


                      for one hour         in a room


      with a twelve-year-old.                One hour —               One hour —


             One hour.            And if   she cries afterward,


   her older sister       will cover it up.         Will rim


              the waterline             of   her eyes                 with kohl pencil


                       until it looks like                        two silk moths


                                have stopped      to rest       on her exquisite     face.


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