Journal » Trout 16 » Unripe Mangoes [Desh Balasubramaniam]
   «       17       18       19       20       21    22    23       24       25       26       »   


Unripe mangoes

Desh Balasubramaniam

for Gauthaman


Do you remember the game of rounders?
Chasing nimble feet
with a rounded glare
Oval shade of drumstick trees,
the unfenced yards
Where knee deep monsoon, nor
the singe of mid-June sun
          keep away the childhood chortle


That sundered old man,
sesame oiled midnight hair
His territorial chase through dust washed alleys,
(the long fractured breath)
How he smashed our guava branch bats,
          the curse of sunken jaws (thieving rascals)


Did you grow old (older)? My old friend
Did you marry? Your fondness of
Gaya (her tied up hair, salient
Did they kill? (like your father)
Do you still like unripe mangoes, diving
through puddles
of unknown depth?


Caught fish in the hidden well
when neighbour took his midday nap
And west of the new made bridge
in days they rested the guns
With tin cans and palm rope—coloured guppies
Chased tadpoles in monsoon, stole
unripe mangoes (the long breath)
Slept among fields of sharp edge
          roofed in scars of young grass
Blood—a common colour
spat on every wall
On ledge of one’s death,
we laid disguised in stillness of the swamps,
          waiting … waiting to bloom
Nearly eight (you were a month older)—free
in a land of war


Your father; sombre salutation. Night
under the moonglow. Owls called—shot
through the naked chest. Your
mother remained wordless (in white)
and you feared night


Left with bag-less goodbyes,
          ran with a closed eye
Once by the well, I remember,
how I fisted your chin
for calling me a Northerner
Still carry your face
drunk on clouds of memory,
          together, my once brittle temper
Under the withering shadows
in echoed voice of piercing flesh
Never to see you (my young friend)
Did you grow old?
Did you marry? (your young dove)
or did they kill? (like us all)
once … we all died


 « contents » 
© Copyright 2010 Desh Balasubramaniam & Trout.