I examine her face closely on Pinterest—
the cracked skin, the oval sidelong face, the ripples of red hair
small breasts, strong abdominal muscles, wide hips,
and the way her hair curls around her body to cover her pudenda.
Pudenda, from the Latin pudēre, meaning to be ashamed.
But Venus stands proudly, a smile in her eyes,
one knee bent, heel raised, leg slanting into the other
like a woman in love leaning into her mate.
Women stand sideways, flanking broad-shouldered men,
curving their necks into a mimicry of rest.
We are ornaments around the necks of our beloveds—
garlands of flowers, their stems tied together with string.
But Venus tears us away and scatters us.
Now, our petals are torn, brown-edged, floating face down in water.

Ruhi Jiwani

Ruhi Jiwani currently resides in Mumbai, the city of her birth, and writes blogs for small businesses. She studied English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and worked as a social worker with victims of domestic violence in NYC. Ruhi's poetry has been published in American publications such as The Eclectic Muse, The Binnacle and Off the Coast as well as Asian publications such as Coldnoon, Muse India, the Four Quarters Magazine and Femina.