I saw begum jaan when she must have been forty.
perhaps forty-two.
Uff, her half-exalted luster on the bed,
And Rabbo’s hands kneading her waist,
the purple shawl at her feet. And I,
who loved her face limitlessly.

at first, there was only this.

the overgrowth of her lihaaf
in my dreams came later.
And so it mangroved its way
into the marsh of my dreams
bound the coastal city of my
living hours in its warm pile
leaving its smell, implacable
days after I would lift it off.

soon after, my needing fingers
would mimic rabbo’s under
my own lihaaf, gyrating, sifting
weaving my pleasure into a
lihaaf of its own.
A quilt. A patchwork.


Rituja Patil is a queer Law student from Mumbai. She completed her bachelor’s degree in English from Ruia College, Mumbai University. 

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