Native Place

Goa is a leitmotif of childhood May holidays
A quartet of perspiring aunts cirlicuing their liquid syllables

Small washed rooms opening to orchestras of husk and coir
from attics and lofts
A sonnet of rain over maroon steps, stone sofas, and green weeping windows
sandy-grained backyard ghazals of jackfruit, guava, and mango trees

Catholic castes and Majorda beach-returnees behind gossiping grandmothers and aunts
(my mother was called scientist, an elder cousin-tourist, a single uncle-bebdo, a widowed aunt, ankwaar kodi)

A free verse of carved wedding fish of an aunt's yesteryear wedding near a muddy déjà vu-ed water well.

An unripe mango, oozing blatant growing up languages in ballads of arresting tongues.

Owria, Mario, Maria - the neighbor's children
Who could walk fast and long through paddy fields, uneven roads without a muscle tear.

Goa was dragonfly caught in thick forest bush, painstakingly brisk, pinched at its tail
Biting at the bend of body - a Chant Royal, announcing the end of the holiday season
in raining June.

The same empty feeling of a house not being there
off Mae Dos Pobres church road, Nuvem.

A haiku of courtyard leaf lost over time,
a gleaming pebble etched wet on a wave receding

A roof caved in of an old Portuguese bungalow
where an Uncle saw it for a rehash of modernity:
stacks of cubby houses atop rows of reeking staircase
-an apartment building! (‘Like they have it in Bombay.')
A tragedy of childhood memories always sold cheap
and unquestioned.
ode, ironical.

A blank verse, final resting place.
No matter what the disillusions be,
return to a promised land.


*bebdo - drunkard
ankwaar kodi - spinster curry (literal translation in Konkani)

by Rochelle Potkar

Comments (1)

''And only the frosts to bind my sleep, And only the winds to know me.'' romanticism is the key.. but with poignant and keen verse