FAULT ANALYSIS FOR THE REST OF US

MANISHA SHARMAN

 

Chopped off from her husband’s life like gangrene at 24
          Lata had borne a girl


He had climbed to the top of his class at IIT, Delhi
          M_ was the only son


Cocksure he is, behind that computer screen,
         women wait, extending a hand


No questions asked
         no peeping required into his past

IT'S A GIRL

MANISHA SHARMA

 

Unsure of the tiny kicking, waiting for the gynecologist she rubs her bulging belly, flips glossy magazine pages tastes salt trickle down her throat, grabs her man’s hand she waits for the gynecologist, unsure of the tiny kicking


when finally he arrives and pulls his chair closer to her, the screech is like a thousand ants crawling on her belly


up above the doctor’s seat, there’s a warning,
“no fetal sex determination done here”


one look at him and she knows she should
vanish behind the curtain, slip her body in a sepia gown


covered in cotton, lying on a stretcher, her body
covered in latex, hugging his hands, pale gloves
spread cold jelly on her belly, run a joystick in circles
unsure of the tiny kicking


hidden from her view:
his eyes at the monitor
latex gloves rolling off
water gurgling down the drain


is he now certain of the tiny kicking,
she grabs her husband’s hand?


and all is frozen for her:
the doctor at his desk
the ticking of the clock
the scratch of fountain pen


she is the little girl whose heart skips a beat
when the teacher hands back
her test scored in red

 

ARDHANGINI

THE WIFE IS ONE HALF OF THE HUSBAND,SHE COMPLETES HIM

 

MANISHA SHARMA


In her sari each day, ardhangini
she buries insults my father hurls at her


they vanish under cloudy-white chuckles
from cardboard brown faces


of boys, girls in her music classroom,
twenty pairs of big black eyes, glistening black hair, coconut oil aroma


she wishes the cotton candy laughs are safe inside her purse
like the tender red rose tucked back in her black bun

in her ironed silk blouse, ardhangini
is not the music teacher my father presses


between his lips a sable hair brush
moistens the tip, drowns in saffron
paints fire in his tiger on ivory paper


handing him her music teacher’s salary, ardhangini
after dinner one night does not say, “your tiger breeds rage”


I wanted to buy a sari, she says
he says, Don’t you have enough already?


And in the silence that follows ardhangini
searches for her pride


in the glass of water he empties,
in the plate he has just licked clean

WHY I HATE CLOCKS

DAVID JAMES 

 

"We die three times: once from the mother,

once from the father,

and once from ourselves."

-from "Everyone born in 1926" by John Woods

Once down two to go,

it's a fact

we have to come to terms with

to revel in that cardinal on the fencerow, 

that heron standing alone

one leg in the river. Our backs

get closer to the wall

every day. If we hope to go out

with a miracle or two stacked in our favor

we need to hone

our vision, and become enthralled 

with the mist rising off the field, that red sky,

those stars above shouting our names

First we accept and the ignore the fall.

Then we sing like the world is ours to own

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