Lalita Noronha


after "Woman in Profile" by Thomas Couture (1815-1879), Baltimore Museum of Art

I want to touch you, not as men would,
not your white breast,
upturned nipple, trembling,
not the swan-like arc of your neck,
wing of collarbone,
lobe of your ear, unadorned.

I want to cup your face, turn
your head, raise your downcast
eyes, unbraid your hair,
cascade it
over your bared breast,
button your gown.

I want to wear you
in your oval gold frame,
a pendant on my heart,
as many million women would,
who, like you,
have turned away.

Born in India, Lalita Noronha is a research scientist, teacher, poet, author, and an editor for The Baltimore Review. Recipient of a Fulbright travel grant to the US, she earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology and is a widely published scientist. Her literary work has appeared in over forty journals, magazines and anthologies, including The Baltimore Sun, The Christian Science Monitor, Catholic Digest, A Science Poetry Anthology, and New Lines from the Old Line State: Maryland Writers Association Anthology, 2008. She has twice received the Maryland Literary Arts Award, and awards from the Maryland State Arts Council (Individual Artist, fiction) and the National League of American Pen Women. Her short story collection is entitled Where Monsoons Cry (Black Words Press, 2004). She teaches in the Humanities Program at Osher LifeLong Learning Institute (Towson University) and in the science department at St. Paul’s School for Girls. Her website is



Published in Volume 10, Number 1, Winter 2009.