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

home-brewed wine.


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

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’

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