Meena Kandasamy

1984 - / Chennai / India

Lady Justice

You are sad and you start out sluggishly,
Shedding your gypsy skirts and learning
To dress up in gold and Valentino gowns.

You are playing Patience to pass the time
And you believe every feud has to die out
When the fighters die. You wait for that.

You later learn it does not work this way.
Sitting still in a songless court, you watch
Backlogs and bribes and middlemen grow.

You are unfazed by all the hard work that
Sob stories demand and so you dictate your
Judgments by picking out from a tarot deck.

You give the Ten of Swords to the woman
Paraded naked and to the gang-raped girl.
Self-defeating, dangerous if they ever won.

The Five of Pentacles to a labourer duped
Of her lifetime's savings and that old trader
Who wears his losses like a brass talisman.

Finally, you hand out the Three of Swords
For a habeas corpus from a maudlin ex-king
Looking for his kidnapped princess-bride.

Your courtroom turns to an ominous circus.
Two shows everyday, entry free. As the
High Priestess you let hope elope with justice.

The rebellious righteous unite against you.
You are handed a Hanged Man and bathed
In bullets. Your sinuous body is cast in stone,

And, to make sure that you never turn blind
Or bored, or fall asleep, each plaintiff applies
A paste of bloodred chillies on your open eyes.
186 Total read