This season is a
power wash for my arteries,
I am washed clean
and hung to dry on the clothesline.
Father doesn’t work, he sits
on the veranda, smoking a bidi,
his friends bring him bottles of
Arrack: they brew it with petrol
and ash, they slice some fruits,
add lizards to the pot
boil them to a sozzle-blitz.
I watch my neighbours stir it
with blood-shot eyes.
Amma kills my pet chickens every day,
Mary, Martha, Kunju have all been
cooked with spices ground at home.
Men look at amma’s blouse
as she bends down to serve them.
on a plantain leaf. They smack their
lips savouring spices, looking
at her melons and at times, at me.
Amma has purple patches all over her face,
she snores into her dreamless land.
I feel two hands pull me up by my feet,
peel off my petticoat.
No one hears me in the night
when pain washes my heart clean.
I soar up with the wind
watch my friends smile
in their sleep dreaming
of angels like me.
I dry out day and night
on the clothesline
washed clean from
pain and shame.
Babitha Marina Justin is from Kerala, South India and a Pushcart prize nominee, 2018. Her poems have appeared in Eclectica , Esthetic Apostle, Fulcrum, The Scriblerus, Chaleur Magazine, Into the Void, Trampset, Inlandia , The Paragon Press, Adolphus Press, The Punch Magazine, Rise Up Review, Constellations, Cathexis NW Press, Silver Needle Press, About Place Journal, The Write Launch, Trampset, The Four Quarters Magazine, So to Speak journal, Kritya and Journal of Post-Colonial Literature. Her first collection of poetry, Of Fireflies, Guns and the Hills, was published by the Writers Workshop in 2015. She is also waiting to debut as a novelist with ‘Maria’s Swamp’