I Watched Her Walk Down a Flowered Lane



Village India bougainvillea sky

I watched her walk down a flowered lane

Led by a swarthy man in white.

The sunset sky was bougainvillea

She was perfect, our black cow, well not quite.

Her milk was gone.

Lakshmi didn’t want to go with this black-eyed stranger

But a cow of her character does what she is told

She should have been with the rest of her sisters

Crunching green stems as day slipped into dusk

She stopped to look back

The man was patient; he had done this many times before

Keep them quiet on the way to slaughter

Lakshmi had been born under a mango tree

On a Friday

That’s how she got her name, coming into life on the goddess’s day

She gave us milk, manure for our garden, a daughter named Saraswathi

But then one day heat and pain destroyed her udder

We waited a month.

It was over.

The man gently pulled her

She walked the rest of the way

Beyond the flowers

Into night.

It was a Friday.


About the Author

Bruce DeJong

I am an Indian of American parentage who practices medicine in rural Tamil Nadu. After years of getting to know the local people, they have begun to open up their lives, allowing me to paint a portrait of their village one story at a time.


  • Meena

    So sad..

  • Mrs. Pattiman

    Oh no, that story is just too sad,Brucie. But the writing is so beautiful.

  • Mrs. Pattiman

    why does my comment come under Mrs. Pattiman? Carol