Jasmine-Scented


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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

Kunjumon | Destiny Poets


Kunjumon | Destiny Poets.

Kunjumon

Sprawled near the shop door
dangling coir, bright plastics, baskets
flimsy balloon balls, flower pots
and you-
a fallen statue reeking of neglect

Irritating to bustling feet
but they stepped over your motionless form
and left the air fouler
with curses that you inhaled

You were the underworld
without the beard, gun or pot belly
ribs painfully embossed
upon your sallow youth
We fattened up our kids
using your nightmare shamelessly

Mariamma
the luckiest woman of all
three hefty sons she had
A thief, a madman and a drunk but no girls
so wasn’t she blessed!

Septic tanks and cow urine tanks called you
armed with a bottle of the cheapest toddy
you swung down holes
where no devil dared to breathe
scooping up discarded human bits

Our girls under your protective stagger
safe as they quickened their steps
from the lonely bus stop to the
lamp-lit shadows of motherly forms
none would look at their budding youth
while you thrashed out your lungs
and limbs at the road romeos

Kunjumon, you fell out of life suddenly
just like you did everyday
but among the fallen
you still stand tall
©Reena Prasad

Crushed grass


The smell of crushed grass on her hands
took her back in time
to where a girl sat cross legged near a bear cage
its wild stench a bit more stronger
than her grandpa’s breath
kissing her cheek each morning
She sat there tugging at the green grass
which sometimes cut her tender fingers
collecting dry leaves into small piles to pass the time
waiting for the man who fed the peacocks
to muster up courage enough to ask him for a feather
The warm afternoon watched and wept
as a childhood wish disappeared into the arms of lust

©Reena Prasad 18th Feb 2013