Mistress of memory,
Lived those days
Without charcoal, roof, or a permanent maid.
Her eyes inflamed with desire
Her face freckled in misery
And her bones crackled with change of seasons.
But her vertebra remained strong.
I and my siblings grew up
Breathing the odour of her celibate breasts.
We never came to know
What ill luck had befallen us…
When the evil demagogue sacrificed my father
In an ancient blood ritual.
Beneath the underground sky
She stored terracotta of tall men with curly hair
And dry mutton kebabs.
Whenever seven old monks
With snakes slithering
Through their adulterous flesh
Visited our house,
They found her
Making love with the Sun-God at the Golan Heights.
mistress of memory,
lived those days
without olive oil, oregano and pepper.
Ashwani Kumar holds doctorate in political science from University of Oklahoma and is presently a professor of Development Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences in (Mumbai). He is author of ‘Community Warriors: State, Peasants and Caste Armies in Bihar’ (Anthem Press) and anthology of poems ‘My Grandfather’s Imaginary Typewriter’( Yeti Press). His poems are noted for ‘lyrical celebration’ of adolescent fantasies and unclaimed memories and subversive ‘whimsy’ quality. they have appeared in Indian Literature, Little Magazine, International Galleria, Post-Colonial Text, Muse India and Dhauli Review among others.
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