‘Rekha’ is part of a six-poet series presented alongside NIDANights in the Peril x NIDA Melbourne event collaboration, ‘You Are Not Here’.



Rama, Lakshmana and Sita are in the forest.
Rama goes off to hunt the golden deer.
Sita is scared for his safety,
asks Lakshmana to go after him.
Lakshmana draws a circle of protection around her.

Stay in the circle and you will be safe
stay in the circle and you will be safe

fire will burn those who trespass
do not cross the line
fire will burn
stay in the circle
fire will burn 

Rekha walks the city assaulted by eyes.
strangers scan their chest in search of breasts.
Followed by 10,000 eyes,
Rekha’s eyes cant close at night.
pupils wide, they sit in their dark bedroom
light a match, and touch it to a candle
the fire swallows their mind.

Rekha lifts the candle
drips hot wax onto thigh
skin gasp pain
a pool, a misshapen circle of wax upon hairy thigh
hot prickings of searing delight
the edges of their body, clean lines which start to blur
heat stretches, sweat
resting, alight, euphoric
Rekha flies,
they are a 10-headed wingless vulture
born of the earth they live through flames
flying in circles
Rekha burns away transgression.


Raina Peterson

Author: Raina Peterson

Raina Peterson is a dancer and choreographer trained in the classical Indian dance form of mohiniyattam. They are Artistic Director of Karma Dance Inc. who’s latest work is an experimental classical Indian dance production entitled ‘In Plain Sanskrit’.

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