On days when I shed a tear or two
over the love I crave and the loves I have lost,
I think of Juliet’s breast. I remember the lines
on my forehead, captured in a dozen photographs
of me refusing to touch it. I recall the exasperation
enkindled by my refusal in the ones
around me in Verona. I hear their voices say,
“Her magical breast might help you attract true love.”
Oh, gentlemen of Verona! Your customs bring me shame.
On days when I lose a friend or two —
the ones who place their hands on my breast
behind closed doors — the lines on my forehead reappear.
“Do you mind?” the still and silent Juliet in me
hears them ask. The friendly palms of all tourists
cupping her breast and the touring hands of those friends
bear resemblance. But my breast still refuses to turn into hers.
“Yes, I mind,” I say the very next moment and watch
the Romeos skedaddle, their entitlement evanescing.
Upasana Dandona is a master’s student at SOAS, University of London. She is pursuing a degree in MA South Asian Area Studies.
Featured image: Juliet’s statue in the House of Juliet, Verona. Photo: Flickr (CC BY 2.0)