October 29, 2009

Two poems



A curtain of rain separates
My verandah from the hospital.
On any other day a hundred
Silent patients would pass through
The OP clinic. Each of them
Allowing us doctors to listen
Feel, touch and question them.
The warmth of their fever would
Make us uncomfortably hot.

Today the air is chilled downpour wet.
Water roars in the stony river.
Five nurses, Gi and I sloshed
Through muddy puddles to witness
Our stream in full spate.
Only one desperate couple managed
To make it on the early bus.
Wanting an abortion.


M’s Betrayal

When the skin on the bottom of your feet
Burns. Burns really red hot.
It becomes hard and black. Like
Old cracked leather.
It makes a ‘tok tok tok’
Noise like a coconut shell. Dry.

Inside creamy pus waits patiently.
The doctor will soon quit tapping
the skin with his pen.
He will mumble instructions in Tamil.
Nurses will scurry. The woman will
Starve to avoid vomiting with the anaesthesia.

In the evening Dhanam Akka will
Crack open a beautiful glass ampoule.
With the deftness of experience she will
Pull ketamine into a plastic syringe.
M lies on the steel operating table
Softly moaning under her green blindfold.

Soon cold steel clasped in latex
clad fingers will pare through
dead skin. Patient pus will burst
forth and dribble into a plastic
kidney shaped tray. Raw red
flesh will make a shy debut.

Akka, will you promise not to tell
Anyone. Promise on your heart.
Promise on your head. Promise. Promise.
I didn’t fall into a cooking fire
because I fainted being two months pregnant.

I took some tablets because I didn’t
Want a second child right now.
Ten pills from the local doctor. They
They knocked me out and then
Then my husband came home drunk.

Promise you won’t tell anyone. Promise.
On your heart. Promise on your head.
He was in a murderous rage. He.
He tied me up and then he.
He stuffed a cloth in my mouth.


8 comments to Two poems

  • How harsh to believe that we all contribute someway to these sate of affairs!!

  • apu

    Powerful, especially the second one. Kudos to Lalit for sharing his experiences in this evocative format.

  • Amisha

    Hey guyz

    I’m not sure if I am in the right place or not but maybe you can help me. 🙂 I am not
    sure if the comments section is the right place to put this but I don’t see any advice column
    address listed. So if I have put it in the wrong place I apologise but perhaps you could advise me on the right place in the website.

    My name is Amisha and I am a 17 year girl. Am not sure exactly how to start lol. Well
    okay, its best maybe to just come out and say it :-). I have always been a tomboy and recently
    I met an absolutely gorgeous and totally sweet guy. But he doesn’t seem to think that much about me 🙁 He just to want to be friends. All my friends think we make a good match but they say the problem is that I look and behave like a guy and that I need to look and behave in a more feminist way.

    They said that guys like girls who are more feminist and not so manly. So I need your help desperately – how can I look and behave in a more feminist way? What makeup and clothes should I get? I’ve been to three different makeup counters and can’t decide on what products to buy. How will I ever look as feminist as the ladies behind the makeup counters if I don’t even know where to start?

    It is just such a high mountain to climb. I just need a few pointers in the right direction. I can’t really afford to buy expensive Cosmo or Vogue magazines for tips so I thought that since this site is for Indian feminists you might be able to help. To start what is the best foundation and blush products for Indian skin?

    Ams 🙂

  • @Amisha, I think he meant you need to look more ‘feminine’, not feminist. I’m sorry we don’t really do clothes and make-up advice since we’re a site for feminists. Good luck.

  • @L. Narayanan,
    Good themed poems. Well done.

    While a woman may have certain appearance oriented hang-ups, which is healthy in a
    way, like being self-conscious about many other things; but what do you care about
    male aesthetic preferences if you are not overtly anxious to transfer the power to
    your beau’s hands? And there starts the appeasement series of cold expectations
    which at a later date becomes one’s crying hoarse of sexism, harassment and
    etc. Who do we blame?

  • Anita S

    I just discovered this website and am much impressed. Lalit, your poems have raw power, and they tell a story. Fantastic!

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