Letters To Ram: Renouncing You

by | Issue #4, Issues


I hitch the light
           off Ayodhya’s wick
to scour me
           off your Sita.

Stir up a pyre
           of each arrowed night
my body bent,
           to send you across.

Love, deer-eyed,
leaping at the sight of you.
Until one day, I foraged for you
           on its mottled coat

and saw no god but Kshatriya
           salvaging an honor
I never bestowed.

Perhaps that is what made you god; absent from me
when I needed you.

I gave you not one,
           but two suns. Morning on each
end of you. Always rising into
           my exile.

You gave me your name
           they chant at every lynching.
Always rising into
           the dome of every prayer

bubbling on the roof
           of each hacked cry. Mourning on each
end of you. Ram,
                                                       I should’ve loved the beast instead.

                                 I used to dream of you
                                            in Chitrakut, your teethed touch
                                 blooming on my breast. Thronging me whole
                                            in an amulet of your umbra.

Even as Devi,
           I was so small.

Yours no longer,


*Letters to Ram is a series of epistolary poems retelling the story of Sita, a popular character in the Hindu myth, Ramayana. In “Renouncing You,” she attempts to find closure after the events of Ramayana and being asked by Ram to endure the agni pariksha (trial by fire) once again, in order to be reunited with him.

Letitia Jiju is from Kerala, India. Her poems have appeared/are forthcoming in Acropolis Journal, Moist Poetry Journal, Indian Ruminations, and Emirates Literature Festival. She was the second runner-up at the 2018 Taleem Awards. You can find her on Twitter/Instagram @eaturlettuce.