The Progression of a Sunrise

A girl. A boy. A bus and five men, who use fists and iron rods and leave them on the wayside, naked, guts pouring out of the girl. The nation pickets, burns candles, nicknames the girl Braveheart before the swamis, lawyers and politicians ask: “What was she doing out so late at night? That, too, with a boy?”

The sky is blue when another girl steps onto another bus. Alone, boy-less. Two men creep forward, touching and prodding until she screams. “Stop making a fuss, you stupid girl!” the conductor says.

Other rapes, other girls. Politicians list more reasons — miniskirts, cellphones, chow mein — falling short only when the next victim is five years old.

Her mother tells her to take a taxi. She arms herself with mace and takes the bus instead. This time, when it happens, she will be ready.


“I want you to come to me / and peel back my hair.”