Here, Virgins Give Birth

Every mother is Mary
in this mother-land of ours.
Here, virgins give birth.

In our mother-land,
no one makes love—
it is mostly arranged
for life (and against it).
At night perhaps,
in silences dark,
one hears gasps
and moans, stifled
movements in discomfort,
while love is not made.
Eventless nights,
dawning into morning mists
full of dreams and
their dreamers—
awake still,
apart still.

In our mother-land,
on sunny days
in shadowy corners
of forlorn balconies,
towels help
dry underneath
secrets laced in satin,
for eyes only those
bound for seven lives
(not necessarily always
to each other!).
On hotter evenings still,
sweating and wet,
the lives of parched lovers
are only ever spent
in passionate search
for water,
but no love is made.

In parks too green,
the love for nature
draws them natural
lovers to its shades.
There so publicly
they seek the private,
lacking in privacy
at their own.
In practiced movements
of tense glances, damp
from the(ir) heat,
scattered attention to every
passing rustle is paid
by bodies yearning
to touch their other.
But no love is made
in this mother-land of ours.

On naked walls
of houses (in)complete,
by the side of roads in black,
red hot bricks bare
in large white letters
and larger numbers,
cryptically clear calls
for secret cures
to shames (un)born in secrecy.
Inner pages in newspapers
promise companionship,
to discuss perhaps
our histories and future—
enlightening conversations
of the productive kind,
in service of
our mother-land where
no love is made.

Visible shops,
selling the invisible
to curious customers
seeking protection—charms
perhaps against those
ghostly cries,
often (un)heard
in painful gusts
of haunting rhythms,
escaping below the gaps
under bedroom doors
in their nightly worship,
chanting verses to Satan
until blasphemous completions.
These sons and daughters
exit the shops
with no thing apparent
but unseen smiles,
looking forward to
a day as innocent
as the mothers of
our billion strong,
in this mother-land of ours.

Our men are studious,
clean as their histories.
Our women: without skin,
purities personified.
Our.. NO. Not them.
Move on (clap! clap!)
What? How dare you!
Our temples are serene,
gods (un)clothed, clothing
the ancient walls in stone
with acts in which
no love is made.
Our homes—such
havens of honour—
vigilant-e-ly guarding
with swords sharpened
in practiced strokes
of smothering silences,
the virtuousness of
our female herds—
ensuring the claim
of those who own
the right to care(ss),
responsible for their
being well—of our dear
mothers and sisters,
in this mother-land of

Why, yes! We know
what is love!
Have you not heard
of shayaris and nazms,
our stirring shers
and moving ghazals?
We have for centuries
played tolerant hosts
to lovers by the millions:
talking and painting
and singing and writing
about all that can
ever be love.
All except that,
of course—making of

For here..
every mother is Mary
in this mother-land of ours.
Here, virgins give birth.

Tejas A. Jha is a student of law, an aspiring writer and photographer, with an awe for the world of art, poetry and music.

Featured image credit: ShemetN/Pixabay