For Indian women who live an occupied life under marriages of honour.
a few years ago
Ma looked after a mango plant
growing tall beside sacred basil,
when it flourishes she said
grey fence walls and the house
washed in last September rain
bathed in dust again
wouldn’t look too ugly,
wide trunks will climb above roof
big green leaves and deep yellow fruits would hang,
neighbour’s children will climb and giggle.
front yard will smell wood and stems
give cold air in endless summer months.
lost in contemplation
Meera stands against granite kitchen shelf,
one year in new family
new mother new father
a husband and brother,
month after month
cheques stuff their joyful plates,
like mango tree’s promise.
she sips cardamom tea
as they drink theirs on sofa and chat,
there’s enough gold loans now easy to pay
kitchen towel hangs wet on tap
it will dry
her damp suit in humid kitchen
perhaps some day would dry.
she has grown wiser and respectful,
married to more things than Ma
to her job and its money
printed Gandhi remains powerful like alive
helps prisoners go out and work
eat and see friends
while new parents enjoy
pressing slavery buttons at home.
House arrest it all has changed.