Poetry / August 2009 (Issue 8)

Two Poems

by Divya Rajan

Factory Girls

The rules say, once in four hours,
so we, the ladies from the country
don't drink water. We wait to pee,
the stopwatch waiting to go tick.
The rules say, not more than ten minutes
in the bathroom total. So we sign in
when we enter and sign out,
when we leave. Ten minutes total.
Our minds and hearts lighter, after.
Sometimes we don't pee.
We take the pee- break
to peek out of the windows
up the narrow bathrooms, devouring
odors of acid salts and chimney fumes
sprinkled oddly with desiccated leaves
borne by acacias that might be still living
a mile away. From behind glass frames, scarred
with moth- like mausoleum fires, we
pore at tall steel buildings, megaliths
with stretched spines,
new ones preceding the old.
They kiss the sky with corroded lips
the shade of jaded gray.
They kiss and make love,
the dark fumes rising,
the smell dissipating, enveloping
skies that'll never be auburn again.
We see no stars in the gray spread,
no clouds. The sun, we cup
in our timid fists, let sprout, and sneak
into the work zone where we roll
tobacco leaves into origami cigars.
The inspector can tell
the leaves from right to left.
We try to be fast. We work hard
to kill people we don't know.
The ones who can afford
to die.

ganesha speaks

      "For those who believe, an explanation
      is unnecessary.
      For those, who don´t believe, an explanation
      is impossible."
      - St. Bernadette of Lourdes

the last time he was fed, he sucked up
all the milk little by little and it was all over
the news, milk cans disappeared like wild
storms in Sundarbans, skeptics breathed hard,
laughed at this mumbo- jumbo talk about ganesha
coming alive in temples and pooja rooms,
ever heard of capillary action, they winced
and sighed, oh these people, they can be so
utterly gullible and ganesha stopped drinking milk,
he didn't care a damn about the negative
attention, his benevolent belly craved for orange
pedhas, preferably stuffed with saline, roasted almonds,
and pedhas disappeared from devotees' carefully
laid silver thalis, his playful trunk swished in a jiffy
neatly lined pedhas and his dove eyes screamed peace, they
sang a song of six pence to believers who believed
and the skeptics didn't hear a ring, ever heard of faith?

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