August 2020 Competition Winner

The Woman Vegetable Vendor
Fabiyas MV


She pulls her handcart through her dream-debris.

Now her PhD is just an agonizing adornment.


She’s been denied white-collar jobs for religious

reasons. Even a name is flammable in the fanatic

drought. Here religion doesn’t purify, but petrify.


Yet she surfaces, scuba-diving through her secret

sorrows. The toot of hunger from her children’s

stomachs keeps her installed in the masked street.


They come again to drive her away – this time,

under the pretense of the pandemic protocol. She

protests vehemently in English . The crowd is enticed

by her fluency in the foreign language. Her molten

emotion spurts. Hers is never an artificial countenance

of a contestant in a beauty pageant. Her words are not

tomatoes and potatoes, but the hottest red chillies.


Will the dark rubber eyes see her close-cropped life?