Updated: Feb 5
Anya Somwaiya, 2023 (St. Clares Best Poem Winter Term)
Sometimes, the ridgebacks fly out with intent to maim.
On week noons whereby the canal we’d play.
The neighbors know to keep beast on a leash.
In plaque-full maw’s clench the children scream.
It is a Sunday where the egg yolk sunlight,
Makes balmy gurgle in springtime swamp site,
Brother number three appropriates a ledge,
And to mother water fateful undoing pledged
When hibiscus skin on the water fell,
And implored hungry fishes to mighty swell.
The body bobbed like a buoy for a bit,
Before began the malefic spit
Then sometime before laborers skin,
Became hoary and to blight akin,
The soft nape of his neck burning on,
under copper-bottomed sun all day long.
A curse of paternal karma, I thought,
And watched corporeal shell begin updraught.
For I never learned to understand
Why the boys couldn’t swim like I can.
That month Ama died of grief.
3 drowned sons and a June-time heat.
for idle spirits at the bottom of the khlong,
are hungry like a radical’s gun.
Mother swathed in her coffin-lining white,
Behind mosquito net rift on those windless nights.
Though when moon renewed her body left the bed
My mother never lifted her head again.
Sometimes I see in the murkiness, their long arms,
Reaching out at me and knotting my tongue,
Plumbing the depths, I come up with black hair
Between my fingers and give alms in prayer.
When moonlight strikes that wave-formed ceiling,
and my brothers lay cast in ultramarine,
My grey face awaste in the window knowing
They will never be under the spirit tree.