September 22, 2022

“The Day I Thought I Would Die, ” by Mini Babu

“The Day I Thought I Would Die, ” by Mini Babu
The Day I Thought I Would Die

The day I thought I would die 
the woman who accompanied me 
to the hospital said, 
she needs cooking oil for, “tomorrow,” 
I used up a little of my 
valued time, 
to contemplate on, “tomorrow.” 

Coffee houses, supermarkets and theatres 
drove past me, 
coffee, bread and rice 
were found unseasoned . . .  

And they went on talking of “coffees” 
while I rode in a vehicle called, “now.” 
All things, other than me 
were yesterdays and tomorrows. 

**

Talcum Powder 

The first time I powdered 
my face, I imitated 
the manner my father did, 
tender strokes on the brow, 
cheeks and chin, 
and a mellow even rub, 
from that time on, 
I thought of him, 
twice a day, 
at no unusual hours, 
later on, I gave up 
using talcum powder. 

The first time 
I oiled my face, 
I imitated him over again, 
beginning with lips, 
then ears and  
eventually hair, 
later on, I gave up 
using hair oil. 

Then I began, 
remembering him 
at needful hours 
as I remembered God. 
 
**

Falling in Love

When you fall in love 
you give in piecemeal, 
in unhurried steps. . .  
the manner a child 
fancy a stranger, 
the smiles, the primary moves, 
and the final acceptance 
of the stranger . . .  
you take in this stranger 
like medicine, 
unwillingly in steps, 
to smell rejuvenation. 

In the end 
like a child, 
who relented to a stranger, 
to squirm out of the hold, 
you draw yourself out, 
tearing up your being, 
here and there, 
bits of you carried away 
in the attempt, 
your injured body 
evades suture, 
rather it stays, 
how you fell 
like a child to love. 

Love is a stranger 
who knocks on your doors 
at strange hours. 

**

My Grandfather
 
The only time I recall
my grandfather 
was on the passing 
of his wife, my grandmom. 
He was in his room, 
on the other end 
from where she was kept, 
people regarded her 
and went to him, 
to make sense of 
their comprehension, 
they looked up for substance 
that were absent in the dead. 

People presumed links 
between the dead and  
the living other, 
I can bring to mind 
the manner 
he returned their looks, 
I was merely five, 

Today, I attempt 
with great effort 
to read his eyes. 
And this is the only time, 
I recall my grandfather. 
 
**

Church Going 

The one thing unlikable 
while going to church 
as a child 
was my mother’s transcendence, 
she turned some other, 
tears waved down her cheeks, 
when looking at graven images 
of Mary and Joseph, 
the little pebbles 
descending the river-eyes, 
and I was so embarrassed 
that I not ever prayed 
rather tried constantly 
to screen her 
from external glances. 

While, at some other times, 
she smiled, 
looking at Mary and child Jesus, 
I sensed being burnt, 
and believed people 
would foretell craziness 
race in the family 
and once again 
I tried to screen her 
with my torso, 
to that  
I pretty prospered, 
while she drove me  
to one side 
oblivious of my  
not so harmless design. 

Even today, 
distractions, none the less 
run while at church, 
looking for 
mothers and daughters 
and in what way 
the former conducted 
and how 
the latter responded. 



***

The Day I Thought I Would Die

Mini Babu is working as Associate Professor of English with the Dept. of Collegiate Education, Govt. of Kerala and now working at BJM Govt. College, Chavara, Kollam. Her poems have featured in anthologies, journals and magazines. Her collections of poems are Kaleidoscope (2020), Shorelines (2021) and Memory Cells (2022). Her co-edited collection of poems is Meraki (2021) and Glass Bangles

The Day I Thought I Would Die
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