Looking for a Rung

Pramila Venkateswaran

Anarkali is caged within brick walls
Shaped into a myth, romanticized.
No one declares her death a homicide.

How many pillars house dead women? Slaves,
Courtesans, rebels in mansions
Reeking of glory.

Isis transforms into a sparrow in the king’s palace,
Flies around the pillar in which Horus
Is buried in order to release him.

Isis revives her lover to regenerate the earth.
Women, how do we revive ourselves from the walls
Burying us?

(published in Long Island Quarterly, 2019)