by Ajmer Rode

Kalli followed me eight miles
to the market where
animals were traded like slaves.
Cows goats bullocks camels

Kalli was black beautiful and six
prime age for a water buffalo.
She was dry. Repelled bulls as if she had
decided never to go green.

Hard to afford, my father decided
to sell her.
She obeyed as I led her
by the steel chain, one end in my hand

the other round her neck.
I was fifteen. Her nervousness was over
soon after we entered the market
where sellers occupied

their given spaces like matrimonials
on a large weekly page.
Kalli sat down with no emotion in her eyes
like an ascetic close to nirvana.

I sat stood walked around like a
neglected calf. Nobody bought Kalli.
She followed me 8 miles back home

I wasn't sure if Father was sad
or glad to see her back. He just
looked at her like a family member
who had missed the train.

Ajmer Rode's picture

Ajmer Rode has published books of poetry, drama, and translation in Punjabi and English. His works have been included in several anthologies in Canada and India. His 1000-page book Leela, co-authored with N Bharati, is included in outstanding works of the twentieth century Punjabi poetry. Ajmer is considered a founder of Canadian Punjabi drama. His poem “Stroll in a Particle” is among 8 international poems permanently inscribed on a public wall outside the new building of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, 2011

Last updated December 10, 2013