Workshop Poem – Nov. 19, 2014

Zorida Mohammed


I grew up without perfume,
or at least so I thought, until
I remembered my mother’s tiny bottle of KushKush
and the flowery talc they’d sprinkled
on Dada and Dadee before they were wrapped
in the 40 yards of cotton
so we’d know when they were visiting.

But those were prepubescent days.
When I discovered perfume,
I can’t remember which one,
my innards quaked
as if I’d snagged something
from the ether that surrounded me
but didn’t know it’d been there all the time.

The world outside my door and my neighbor’s door
greeted me with benign kindness,
kinder than my own drowning mother
who needed so much from me
as if I were her right hand,
as if our umbilicus was never cut
and I should have known what she needed.

I was a massive failure
and prayed daily to die as a younger teen
until Krishna, the good cricket player,
and avid limer at the village corner,
and at the Hindu school, picked me.

I thought it was my classmate Sita
he was looking at
until my next door neighbor
placed a folded up copybook page in my hand.
I ran straight to the latrine for privacy.
He liked me and wanted to meet me.

The whole world shifted that day.

The world has always been kinder to me than my mother
until, slowly over the years, I became the fairy God-mother
she never had, and we fell in love, truly and forever.
We even held hands when we walked.

The world never needed anything from me,
save for my eyes, peering
into every nook and crevice of everything
they discovered,
awakening the cells of my marrow.

I dipped in, and out,
as if nature were a stream,
and I a cup, dipping,
always dipping.

*Limer; In Trinidad, a person who gathers or hangs out with others for idle chatter.

REMINDER: The Red Wheelbarrow wants to roll on the digital sea as well as on dead trees. Please like, share, and forward.

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