by Tabassum Tahmina Shagufta Hussein
[TW: rape, caste violence]
The fire you see through your tv
burning over the trees, that is me.
——–I am a woman.
——–I am a Dalit.
The field you see on tv is the field where
I walked for the last time,
you see the foliage on the site.
I was dragged there, raped, and assaulted.
——–I am a Dalit woman.
——–I was a Dalit woman.
They burned my body in the middle of the night
with the police cordoned all around.
This is my village of nineteen years,
the entire span of my life.
For nineteen years, I walked in these fields.
I milked the buffaloes, did the household work.
I went to school, studied in class three.
——–She walked through the fields.
——–She cooked for her father and the family.
I did what a village girl does.
I was what a village girl is.
I was no one. Like anybody else.
On my death bed, I whispered to my sister-in-law,
Tell Ma that I will return home soon. I did not.
The flames through the trees you see
on every tv channel, that is me.
My body being burned.
I was raped and assaulted.
I was a woman. I was a Dalit.
I was a Dalit woman.
I was invisible.
I am invisible.
[Tabassum Tahmina Shagufta Hussein is an aesthete from Dhaka, Bangladesh. She holds an MA in British and American Literature. She is a freelance writer, poet, columnist, editor and translator. Her poems have appeared in several literary magazines, including five anthologies. She writes columns for Different Truth, India and other news portals for Bangladesh featuring humanitarian and social issues. She was the International Fellow 2020 of the International Human Rights Arts Festival. She is a translator for the ITHACA foundation, Spain. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.]