“Transactions at Traffic Lights” by Maya Sharma Sriram

Smooth cheeks, plump breasts
Rounded arms, invisible womb
And the juncture of my thighs
Rebuke me.
I look away from the mirror
And remember the transactions
at the traffic lights.
Painted face, sparkly earrings
shiny sari, sexy blouse
And jingling bangles on
sinewy arms.
They don’t hide the scars, or the pain,
the blame or the shame
Of acquired womanhood.

I brave the mirror again
I cannot see
the sagging breasts, the wrinkled skin
the bleeding womb, the flabby thighs,

Or even what nestles between them-
the mirror’s on fire
I breathe deeply and catch
the fragrance of The Primeval Woman.

Now, at traffic lights,
When there is a tinkle of glass
The windows slide down
Money exchanges hands
before the lights turn green.

That is how I give my thanks.


featured image by Tony Sapiano of a traffic light at Trafalgar Square in 2016


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Published as a part of Bolder Writers Warehouse‘s guest curation of Punch Drunk Press, November 2018. 


Maya Pic

Maya Sharma Sriram is  writer- poet. She writes short fiction and poetry, both of which have been published in many journals, including  Mused Literary Journal, Kavya Bharathi, Poetry Today and Quest. Her poem has appeared in the anthology Poetry India- Voices In Time, 1993, a collection of short listed poems to the British Council- Poetry Society of India contest. She is the winner of the 2010 Elle Fiction award. She is also the author of the book Bitch Goddess for Dummies.


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