Friday, 12 October 2007


Here is a pair of bookends belonging to my mother.
They represent the eternal parentheses she used
while in conversation with me.

“How are you getting home?”
(“The rickshaw driver may rape you.”)

“Are you seeing anyone?”
(“Is someone raping you?”)

“Why do you want to move out?”
“Why do you drink?”
Why do you smoke?”

(“I know what happened.
I know what happened.
I think about it all the time.
Do you too?”)

“Be merry!”
“Have a child!”

And all the while I can see,
cloaking and enveloping everything,
her constant reminder.

The only thing she sees
when she sees
her otherwise accomplished child.

Smashed between her un-used bookends,
a bouquet of brackets,
a permanence of parentheses.

Round table

I have spent my adulthood
Cyclostyle paper in the roller,
this is the tap-tap-dance of my monologue

The man at the head of my table,
my father,
retired hurt from an afternoon
of cricket watching, coffee-drinking.

The man at the head of my table,
my father,
on realising his acute ineptitude
at dealing with his daughter’s monsters,
bought a round table.

The man at a corner of our round table,
Sir Arthur and his sleepless nights,
all beaten fair and square.

These days,
the distant rumble of dinnertime
begins with disgrace
and ends with a benediction
made to my father’s

Stench of Guava

Stench of guava’s slimy skin
Hard outside and soft within
The hard and soft of my own kin
My blood that trickled down your chin.

Stench of guava’s ripened flesh
Beneath its shade, my body threshed
Within its arms did you enmesh
Your kin, my body small and fresh.


You came to me, in dreams,
with your voice rustling
like leaves beneath tiny feet.
With your hair, slick and shining wet
like snakes throwing off aging skin.
With your eyes
full of make-believe games and anecdotes.

You came to me, in dreams,
with hands that smelled of guava pulp,
too used to small and tender flesh.
With lips too hungry to delay
planting smells inside my mouth.
with teeth biting through playschool logic
mocking my tentative baby lisps.

You came to me, in dreams,
every night,
and every morning, ever since,
my breath is stale
of guavas pale,
and every morning, ever since,
I recount fiction that slowly dropped,
like a penny,
into a pool of fact.