Fall 1994 • Vol. XVI No. 4 Poetry |

That’s Not for Puti

Translated from the Bengali by Pāramitā Banerjee and Carolyne Wright The task of solving the world's problems has not been assigned to you, Puti. Whether India should build the Bomb, when America will get out of Vietnam, how urgent are mass signatures against automation—these concerns are not for you. Freshen up in the afternoon, arrange your hair        in a chignon with a dab of "Lakshmi's Luxury" oil, pat your face gently with the Pearl's Powder your auntie gave you, on your forehead put a dot of bindi powder        made from burnt postal cards, put a sprig of jasmine in your hair. During the monsoon, a deep green sari looks really good on you. At your age, Puti, I can't stand your pulling such a long face—Aren't you overdoing it? What do you understand of the ULF? What do the Peking purges have to do with you? You should feather your own nest, twirl the oil lamps' wicks. Remember, Puti, you're just going to end up raising kids; these tom

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