(14-2-1957 / Tamilnadu, India)

These Are The Things The Former Tenants Left

these are the things the former tenants left:
the golden nails on which they hung the rags
they wore all summer while their children lived;

the ruby stylus and the coat with too many pockets
to be from this century; an ebony fan.
one stewpot. when did they have meat?

I can't remember. rent is due the first of the week;
make sure you lock up when you leave.
sweep with a new broom.

then she was gone, my landlady, scuffing down the hall.
and like a ghost, I stood in my new room
with the quaint wallpaper;

the dust of gloom unsettled
where the piano stood.
what griefs lived here, I mused

amidst the Christmas recipes
in yellowing magazines.
scant peppers from the rafters

faded red and green;
the orange net bags of onions.
little to go with any of it.

mary angela douglas 10 august 2015

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