The house was an almost-ant hill.
The old woman seeking yogic powers
stayed on, hobbling around-
denouncing the world-
ulcerous wounds, slowly eating her body.
She sat on the creaking swing and sang in her lusty voice,
the ballad of the king, whose marriage was called off,
as the cook forgot to carry a fresh sprig of curry leaves.
She chased away robbers, yelling out to them- to come later
when she was gone, as everything would then be theirs.
The house, where the children had frolicked
while the brides sulked, as mice ran through the rafters,
where the dead calf lay buried under the turmeric plants
crumbled in response.
The cuckoo listened intently,
as her voice climbed
up the trunk of the tree
and soared unbound, free.
Editor’s Note: This poem captures the eccentricity and self-reliance of an old woman in a visual and evocative manner. Among several other visceral images, a single word, “ant-hill,” effectively captures the essence of the crumbling house.
Geetha Ravichandran lives in Mumbai. Writing is her first love. Her recent poems have appeared in Borderless, Setumag and in a couple of anthologies published by Hawakal.