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Pazhakulam, Kerala                                                              pic :ReenaPrasad

Jasmine-Scented


She waits impatiently for the deep pits can swallow no more

He comes drawn by the lure of quick money. At sunset, the deal is struck.
Three bars of Lux soap, two large bottles of kerosene and coconut oil,
a floor cleaning lotion, jasmine-scented (he insists on it) and 4000 rupees
change hands but no handshakes are expected or given. They vanish into opposite dusks.

She into the house to fasten every window and spray fragrant Oud.
He to the shop to binge on stuff that will quell reason and preserve his sanity.
The night soil stream gallops through sleeping backyards as a well-oiled drunk works diligently,
scooping up and surrendering all his rights, laughing and retching in turn at court orders
spraying kerosene over each load of shit he pulls up till the slabs are cemented back

A moonlight bath with the floor cleaner and a bar of soap
then dinner on a banana leaf left for him outside the locked up house
He opens the last two bottles of toddy dousing the stink of memories
taking home the scent of jasmine, two bars of Lux for his wife and 4000 rupees for his child
which the hospital takes from him once a clean day dawns.
©Reena Prasad

Published in the mini anthology on 19th August 2016
An Anthology of Poems Dedicated to World Humanitarian Day

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