Thursday, August 21, 2014

Renu Mashi: a poem in Earthen Lamp Journal

Here is the poem that was published in the July issue of Earthen Lamp Journal themed 'The Personal is Political'.  Happy reading!


 Renu Mashi

A sweet mother
and a strict father who insisted
on the loftiest principles
She was that startling mixture of fair skin
and jet black contrast curls
Two sisters and a brother complete the framed picture
There were two more sons, but one died at birth
and the other at infancy.
The poor mother had already borne so much pain
Shrouded in silence, this lovely lady
sari clad, old, knitting needles clicking in the sun
as I remember her.
They ensured the best college education
yes way back in 1950, for their daughters
Years later, I was to call my grandma's college my own
but this is not about my grandmother, this poem
is about my dadi's sister, Renu masi they always call her
She was doing a PhD in Chemistry, they said
A PhD is like a marriage, she said. I wish
it had been her only marriage.
But her second marriage was to a man who killed her
out of greed because she did not supply him with the money he wanted
I do not know if she could not or she would not
I only know that she died
They put poison in her morning coffee, they killed her
Cleverly using her own chemistry against her
Sixty years later, her sister's grand-daughter
pretends to do a PhD in feminism.

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