Poetry 2010 Featured Writer Nayanthara

When the bamboo flowers…

The massive, warrior bamboo has flowered after so many years…
A deadly harbinger of famine, poverty, pestilence and destruction.
And so are the dirty, rotten scars of yesteryears
that has once again appeared uninvited
casting a pale shadow on her cherubic face
and deep, dark marks beneath her beautiful eyes.

A woman in her mid- thirties,
she had endured some of the most traumatic moments in life.
Separation from an alcoholic husband,
Repeated emotional harassment from her in-laws,
Rebuke and contempt from her indignant family members,
A failed suicide attempt,
One whole year amidst a world of anti-depressants,
Regular, painful visits to family courts to avail custody of her son…

Enough and more for any mediocre woman to go completely insane.

For the last two years, she had been staying alone in her small house
with her son, the ultimate love in her life.
Cocooned in a world of her own –
a world of new-found freedom and extreme peace,
she had begun to love life, to cherish life in all its myriad complexities.

The old scars had, by now, visibly healed, disappeared magically
like drops of water on a sponge
and she feverishly hoped that life wouldn’t give her the chance
to turn back its dusty pages of memory
until, a few days ago…
she happened to see ‘him’ in a shopping mall
holding the hands of another woman;
perhaps, his new girlfriend or wife.
It seemed he didn’t notice her,
or, at least made a deliberate attempt not to look at her.

For a moment, she stood frozen, speechless,
 her body cold and numb, her thick-set eyes curtained with tears,
and all around her were bamboo flowers;
their powerful scent slowly strangulating her sublime womanhood.

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