The river and fields she left behind,
in the market place she walked like a slut:
her feet painted red with turmeric and lime,
her teeth stained with betel leaves,
jasmines rolled around lusciously unruly hair.
He collected pebbles at the riverbed
filled his shirt pocket with them
tied them around his stomach with a towel
that she used to dry his hair as a child. He jumped
into the well, the red towel floated up first:
a missive for the beautiful mother.
(This poem is inspired by ‘The Cruel Mother’ by Brigit Pegeen Kelly.
I have not been able to get over these images:
with hair like a thrush’s breast and rose perfume
came in with a different man tonight,
her finger like a petal on his arm, her smile
a crimson wing )