Raju lies in bed, still as a statue,
Pale, as if there's no iron in his blood.
Anaemia, the pharmacist says.
Pneumonia!, the mother hears,
panicking at the unknown Latin word.
He could die within a day, it appears.
So fragile the nature of life.
In the garden, the butterflies hover.
Their lifespan is two weeks. Their wings
Open and close, as they cluster
By the fragrance of a trellis covered
With honeysuckle. They will be gone
Soon, so they must make the best
Of their time on earth. If only
We had the same wisdom.


The iron staircase
Curves, and leads up
To my bedroom, where it is
Too hot, the tin roof heated
To melting point, so I stay
Down here, with the tiled floor,
The bamboo furniture,
Thinking about the young child
Who vomited last night, his mother
Says it may be a bhoot, a spirit
Who has possessed the little boy

Its summer's beginning
And they shouldn't have drunk
water from the ground
Without boiling, I say. She nods,
Seemingly in agreement.
The lethargy drains her,
Makes her wonder if she's not
possessed along with her son.