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Showing posts with label Neha Parthasarathy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Neha Parthasarathy. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer in India, 1999

by Neha Parthasarathy

Despite your insistence that I eat
chick peas smothered in fenugreek and
green chili powder,
            all I craved
that summer were pickles.

American—Dill pickles, sour, thick
            and crunchy as I
imagined tree trunks to be. I relied
on them—a reminder of the
            easy life waiting for me—
                        only months away.

I’m sure you had no sympathy; you
            were raised to pity no one,
            the easy life, not
something you pined for, as I did.
            More a stone temple
than my cousin.

To you, I was too fresh,
too rosy-eyed,
                        too American.

Nights,
            after you cleaned the dishes
reeking of turmeric and curry powder,
            you asked me questions—a
private game that I never quite
            understood.

Are you Britney Spears? I shook my head
no, and you laughed.
            Sinister, and sad,
I can’t associate anything
            with that sound
except your face—only 19, but
                        etched with wrinkles.

Still, I have wondered when you laughed,
             why I giggled too, wiping
mosquito skeletons off my ankles,
            too annoyed
to whisper condolences, while you
            cleaned up
the bodies—mouthing prayers
            under your breath.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Those Days

by Neha Parthasarathy

It was two decades ago Amma made like she might refuse your marrying hand
but didn’t. And would it have been any better?
For you, it was a kidnapping from
dusty evenings spent in the neighbor’s yard pinching papayas from trees.

Now more then ever you dream of those days, aged like wine,
playing cricket in overgrown grass, laced with molting cicadas.
Your teammates roaring don’t strike too soon,
run run run.

And you did. Are running still.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Longing

by Neha Parthasarathy

How in the moments I will never tell my mother about, I danced. Shameless, against thick-skinned men who looked as lonely as I did.

The thought of making love to them was easy. The music made my body fluid and light, enough to forget this was some form of faithlessness; that these men kissed

their wives with the same lips that kissed the freckled air between us, inhaled the
sweet sweat lining of my neck. Why did they

drift? I was young, yes, but that’s hardly an excuse. They should have looked deeper, known that the song, though not recognized in Spanish would

break them anyway, make their bodies work harder to find pleasure that should never
be birthed. But why did I not stop their wandering hands?

I do not know, though I will admit, it was easier to ignore it, too high off the poisonous serenade that found its way around us, insistent and remorseless.