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Three Poems by Reena Prasad: "The Pact", "Reaching Up", "Let Me Be"

January 15, 2017

 

 

 

 

The Pact

 

My legs swing, warm sun tickling bare feet
On an egret-sprinkled green palm of earth,
a purple heron soars
settling on a buffalo
its buoyancy turning tears into kanmashi streets
and me at five, on your shoulders, secretly happy

Water gurgles in unscrubbed manchattis
sooty pots bob in fenced-in waters
Saris pulled up, tucked tightly at the waist,
mothers scrub squealing bodies
their laughter settling into ruts yet un-eroded
a melody to hold their hearts together
as they grow and fly towards the city

Edi kaapi aayo? (Is the morning meal ready?)
Innu joli ondo? (Will there be work today?)
Women ensure routine in the lives around
their voices reach out across the thodu,
dogs on either side bark away
at such blatant disregard for territory

We cross the sun-browned vellekka collectors,
the palm frond cart pullers with smiling passengers
brown bodies in frayed shorts driving imaginary cars
and girls my age resting their brooms awhile to stare at us

You run nimbly over the single, long coconut trunk bridge
a foot at a time, the silver on fish fins glitter and I hang on
my pavada bloats into a red, green balloon
and wet shirt sleeves flap at us from coir strings

A mollusc-scented memory envelopes me
Your bare foot prints emerge shaking off the sand
We were going home that day
"You will never forget" The paddy whispered
"I won't" It was a pact


 



(Notes):

Coir - stiff fiber from the outer husk of a coconut

Kanmashi - eyeliner

Thodu - stream

Pavada - long skirt

Manchatti - flat, earthen clay pot

Vellekka - immature nuts of coconuts

 

 

 

Reaching up

 

There will be a different bird in the sky today

parting thirsty clouds on its way

to reach a shore

where the rain keeps playing

the earth's song

its lyrics written with petrichor

 

In that familiar place which heart calls home,

there are aging, broken wings waiting outstretched

to gather the wandering kestrel to their core,

tender beaks waiting to rub and be rubbed

and praying eyes moister than rain petals

to help the traveller resist

the perilous tug of the ocean floor

 

Like a happy child who owns the earth and sky

by trying to jump and catch it with wondering eyes

I wonder if I too can fly

 

Can I slit the too-taut skin, shake loose my crumpled wings

and from my small bit of earth, take to the sky?

for I want to soar on a silver ride

to gaze my fill at a bird that will fly

above my pumpkin patch tonight

 

 

 

Let Me Be

 

Let me be

a dry tree

 

clothed in the driest brown of leaves

when I leave     

 

firewood for several flames to leap

my essence a scented breeze

taking nothing of earth with me

 

 

so that new life can sprout

unburdened

by tall tales

of me

 

© Reena Prasad

 

 

 

Reena Prasad is a poet from India, currently living in Sharjah (United Arab Emirates). Her poems have been published in several anthologies and journals e.g. The Copperfield Review, First Literary Review-East, Angle Journal, Poetry Quarterly, York Literary Review, Lakeview International Journal, Duane's PoeTree, Mad Swirl etc. She is also the Destiny Poets UK's, Poet of the year for 2014 and one of the editors of The Significant Anthology released in July 2015. More recently, she was adjudged second in the World Union Of Poet's poetry competition, 2016

 

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