Wait, where are all the men?

Padmashri Maddala



Where are all the men?

Women, young and old

Family, friends and relatives,

All around her women bustle as,

moist memories flood their blank eyes

thin strands of old bonds cling on mutely.

The jaded mirror on the wall stares back in turmoil,

Can she wear kohl and lipstick?

Can she wear henna on her hands?

Can she wear nice dresses?

Can she style her hair?

Can she go to a movie?

Can she hang out with friends?

Can someone please tell her?


Winter winds bring in breezes of burden

As valleys are veiled in sheets of white

Her days pass by in a tedious blur

Cooking, cleaning, raising children and earning money,

Her own desires kneaded into dough

And fed to their children!

Endless days of longing and silent nights of loneliness

For her time comes to a standstill

SHE pays the price of war and strife

These wretched beings, these half widows

Crying, laughing, crying, laughing

Hope, despair, hope, despair,

Days, weeks, months, years,

Praying, praying, praying

Waiting, waiting and waiting,


Where are all the men?

Padmashri Maddala is a poet and a free lance writer based in India. She has been published in reputed anthologies and also in the Women Inc magazine. 

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