Green Hills Literary Lantern

 

 

Storm in an Oyster

 

Sweat drips off a Goan summer

spent conspiring with cards, splayed out 

in the clammy palms

of two cheating teenagers,

pitted against a wily octogenarian and 

an aunt spared from marriage. Perspiration 

snakes down our bony backs

as the game heats up,the prize 

nothing but bragging rights

in a village of somnolence. The evening brings

drowsy souls resurrecting from 

afternoon deaths

in haute couture of rubber slippers and 

polyester dresses held together

around the waist with twine. Talk veers 

dramatically between ripe jackfruit 

and moody coconut pickers

But most of all circles around

how this summer has been

the worst

of all summers. 

We are chided about summer boils,

on our faces and backs

penalty for our impatience 

because we refuse to wait until the first rain 

instead

succumbing, to yellow gluttony.

The king of all fruits called and we answered,

scrambled up trees and braved scoldings to 

taste goodness - sometimes mature,

oftentimes raw. 

The days walked slowly towards weeks,mirroring 

each other like identical twins. Some days,

we would be invited

to another home for fish curry and rice,

eating with our hands 

we would watch carefully as adults 

wielded weapons. Sometimes, they were just forks and spoons. 

We stubbornly pushed away cutlery because 

fishbones hurt, touching the food

was the only way to identify 

danger. Only when oysters were served,

we were equals,the adults and us.

Pity - as kids we hated it. The oyster that is. 

It tasted like something that hadn't yet decided 

if it was fish or sea. Ironically, 

just like us. 

The storm hit when no one was looking. 

An afternoon of raging hormones 

and tantrum throwing - like the day

when mother said we couldn't go to the picnic. 

The fury lasted hours, cost us all our siestas,

at the end of which we 

were ready to give in to any demand, even ones 

which we didn't approve of. 

The fruit we had climbed trees all summer 

to steal, now lay 

unclaimed tarpaulins of sweetness 

over corpses of tree trunks on tarred roads, 

wet with livid tears.

The church bells rang in solemn

thanksgiving - the storm had merely claimed 

life not men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Bianca Nazareth juggles a career in dentistry with avid traveling, reading, photography, writing and theatre. She has performed in several stage productions and short films as well as written several short stories, poems and even scripts for one act plays. She has been published in efiction India, Red Fez  magazine and in a poetry anthology for Into the Void magazine.