pearls around the neck • 123
The king awakes, feeling the pleasant coolness of the
Sidewalk on his back.
He deploys his henchmen,
Howling, sniffing, scavenging,
Through the narrow corridors of the palace.
He adjusts his tattered robes,
His crown of mottled hair, dust and dirt.
His subjects drop a few coins, averting their eyes.
He watches them as they go about their business:
People with a purpose.
His purpose is survival.
He hauls onto his back
His belongings, and his ventures
Forth into his kingdom.
Men in power today: the perspective of a young woman today.
Author: Deboleena Mazumdar, 16 years, India, 2012
High School student at LSNEPAL
Illustration: Catherine Beeckman