In Search of Work

She came dressed in a mustard suit
with daffodils printed in turquoise
and magenta; her long scarf woven
in her plait so she doesn’t forget it in the
fatigue of dragging a steel trunk on
connecting trains from Bhopal to Old Delhi.

From the stampede conditioned railway station
she travelled to our home taking lifts
from unsafe lorry drivers who chew tobacco
and spit red saliva on the passing roads.

Wearing plastic red bangles dotted golden;
making feeble noise; wearing no anklets but
steel earrings; wearing no red sandals but
stained rubber slippers; she came and knocked
our main door, the door she once entered freely.

Aunt Soraya came in search of work,
but we had to refuse her away.
We had two maids already: one for cleaning
dishes and the other for laundry.
She came escaping her husband, and we
couldn’t trust she wouldn’t escape us,
so we had to refuse her away.

She also left her sons, and dismissed
her own servants who obeyed her:
Aunt Soraya came, and we couldn’t trust
she wouldn’t leave us,
so we had to refuse her away.

From the book House Arrest & Disobedience, ISBN 978-0-9930315-1-9.

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Sumeet Grover

Sumeet Grover is the founder of Global Poetry, dedicated to creativity, human dignity, dialogue and global citizenship. He is a winner of the Portico Brotherton Open Poetry Prize 2014 and was shortlisted for the Jane Martin Poetry Prize in 2014 & 2015. He has authored three books of poetry: Signals (2017), House Arrest & Disobedience (2015) and Change (2011). Grover is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment.

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