CACTI IN CONVERSATION

By-Karmishtha Krishna

 

I clasp the ceiling and stare;

Stare back at those fearful eyes

Wondering why I am culpable

Wondering when their hearts

Might show a glimpse of magnanimity.

They call me “chhipkali”-

I have phobias named after me.

They call me a house lizard

Ironically, I am homeless.

I feel lonely sometimes

Looking at others my size

Dressed in reds and browns and greens

And whatever color

Nature fancies them to be

Having a gala tea party;

Wondering whether it's my beige

Or my vacuum feet

That make me so disgusting.

There is another though;

In this home of extravagance,

That seems to suffer from desertion too.

An old lady of about eighty

With silvered strands and sunken sockets

Wanting to talk to me

Wanting to say, “These plain walls capture me.”

But her senses give way;

She presses her spectacles up closer

Wrinkles up her ringed nose

And chants Aum prayers

Feeling telepathically closer to God;

Her only companion in this air of solitude.

I want to tell her-

“Ajji, fair is foul and foul is fair

And beauty isn’t always as bare;

When I see your ethnic eyes

Diving through waves of compassion

Searching for someone,

Someone to swim through them with –

I am here.

When I see the shapeless scar

Capturing your internal strength;

Hiding behind that fake giggle

When your children discuss it at length

I want you to know –

I understand your loneliness.

I want to be there for you.”

But instead of speaking my heart

I give out an affectionate noisy fart;

Which I think Ajji did not fancy.

Her frail bones pick out a broom,

She sweeps me away from her sky;

And I am estranged yet again.

Running away from nothing but silence;

Running away to nothing but silence.

 

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This poem has been published in the book 'The Last Flower Of Spring'. Buy the paperback copy on Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/y9sydnxn


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