SUMMER SANS SUNFLOWERS

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Oh!! What have you done you wretched girl

You couldn’t control your raging hormones and your womb you had to unfurl

To this aberration you dare to give a further whirl

By naming the abhorrent seed to be that of your father’s?

Do you have no shame, you filthy, dark piece of shit?

That you think it worthy to bring on this hapless family more disgrace and spit

The man in question lounging nearby heard but never listened to his wife’s tirade

He didn’t have the courage to accept that his daughter’s trust he had betrayed

He knew his wife would not be able to understand why he had strayed

His mind drifted to that fateful night when it was pouring heavily

After a marathon session of drinking he had plodded back home wearily

No one was home except Amara, his daughter who was playacting

She had worn her mother’s clothes, mimicking her mother’s tone she was chatting

He watched her from the door frame, in his drunken stupor he hallucinated his wife

Slowly he inched forward and clasped this woman tight

Vaguely he remembered this woman pleading with him to let her escape from his sight

Convinced his wife was acting coy, he feverishly held on to her with all his might

Greedily he inched forward to taste her elixir of life after years of lonely nights

For years his wife had pretended to be busy working as domestic maid in rich household

She loved the world of riches and abundance and returning home drove her blood cold

She had no compassion for her progeny of four, all dark, all ugly, all like slime mould

She could not bring herself to give into bodily pleasures in this matchbox of a house so old

Mechanically she did her homely duties and rushed to her pretty fair little charge

She liked to believe that rich household was her only place of solace in this world large

Amara vainly tried to gather her mother’s empathy

All she got in the name of maternal love was apathy

The entire neighbourhood saw her burgeoning stomach and blamed her for this travesty

Every day people turned their backs to her, even the children were forbidden to talk to her affably

The only people who welcomed Amara in their heart and home were the prostitutes three

Who lived at the end of her lane and considered themselves spirits free

They understood her fear, pain and dilemma and haplessly witnessed Amara lose her esprit

A fifteen year old innocent girl who was supposed to live free

Now was enmeshed and chained in torment due societal decree

Amara slowly and steadfastly lost her grip on sanity

She spent days planting sunflower seeds on a small patch of soil in front of her home, a shanty

She told the prostitutes, the sunflower would bloom the day she would see her baby dainty

The neighbourhood nor her absconding father or her mother cared for Amara during pregnancy

No one listened to her baby talk, for them it was pure profanity

Only one morning the neighbourhood discovered the still born baby

And the lifeless form of the new mother with the umbilical cord still attached to her body

Their faces radiated peace lying on the patch of soil that Amara had tilled in winter early

That summer, the sunflower seeds germinated on Amara’s patch of soil

But nature lamenting loss of two innocent lives from flowering recoiled

That summer no sunflower in that entire neighbourhood bloomed

The sunflowers in Amara’s pain and loss remained in their bud entombed.

Note: This poem is my humble tribute to Toni Morrison and her path breaking novel ‘The Bluest Eye’. The plight of the  protagonist Pecola, has always moved me to the depths of my soul.

©Paromita Mukherjee ojha,  June 2015

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