E Zine of KV Pattom published by the Library

MY SON’S TEACHER by Kamala Das

In Poem of the Week on January 27, 2008 at 11:06 am




Kamala Suriyya (Kamala Das, Madhavikkutty)

My son is four. His teacher swooned on a grey pavement
Five miles from here and died. From where she lay, her new skirt
Flapped and fluttered, a green flag, half-mast, to proclaim death’s
Minor triumphs. The wind was strong, the poor men carried
Pink elephant-gods to the sea that day. They moved in
Long gaudy processions, they clapped cymbals, they beat drums
And they sang aloud, she who lay in a faint was drowned
in their song. The evening paper carried the news. He
Bathed, drank milk, wrote two crooked lines of Ds and waited.
But the dead rang no doorbell. He is only four.
For many years he will not be told that tragedy
Flew over him one afternoon, an old sad bird, and
Gently touched his shoulder with its wing.

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