Wednesday 10 September 2014

Poetry 2014 First Prize, Vinita Agrawal

House For Sale

The bungalow at Marine Drive is on sale;
the last of its owners has died
leaving behind walls lunatic with visions
and red luscious dates ashen with grief

The mist gliding inwards from the Arabian Sea
like an aerophane of damp ice blue chiffon
sketches a familiar face on the house's bleached exterior,
stubborn about not forgetting...

not forgetting the old man...and how, when he sat down to write his Will,
he realized he had no one to leave it to, except the theatre group,
which he'd attended just for the heck of it,
just so that he didn't choke on his evenings.

How, when he'd put down his Sheaffer pen, with the faintest of sighs,
he'd simply picked up his Lantus - carefully calibrated the insulin to his calorie intake,
popped pills, fluffed up the pillows with empty thoughts and dreamless ness,
blown kisses to the chrysanthemums and dahlias before drifting off to sleep forever.

The sea couldn't forget the stench of his peace;
such absolute stillness, not even the neighbors stirred...
until death rode the winds like a brass knocker and begged for attention.
Of course the birds had cried themselves hoarse. Frogs had croaked non-stop.

And now the house was up for sale. The theatre group didn't want it.
Wanted only the money...not the sentimental shroud of an old man,
not the front porch that reached out to strangers like a handshake
not the sunlight that fell just short of good Feng Shui.

I believe the day it was sold, the sea receded - like serotonin levels in anxiety,
the mud path that led to the house became mottled, the humus wept openly,
moss curled up, looked tawny. Dry leaves scratched each other restlessly.
All loyal to an old man who was one of them now.

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