Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry

Eunice de Souza

Conversation Piece

My Portuguese-bred colleague
picked up a clay shivalingam
one day and said:
Is this an ashtray?
No, said the salesman.
This is our god.

Advice to Women

Keep cats
If you want to learn to cope with
the otherness of lovers.
Otherness is not always neglect-
Cats return to their litter trays
When they need to.
Don't cuss out of the window
at their enemies.
That stare of perpetual surprise
in those great green eyes
will teach you
to die alone.

My Mother Feared Death

Alive or dead, mothers are troubling.
Mine came back and said, 'I'm lonely.'
I left the windows open and the lights on.
She was buried in blue.
It remained. Nothing else did.
Handed back to us in a plastic bag
her bones are forced into a niche.
'I'm lonely," she says.
I dream of her.
It's the best I can do.

From My Mother Feared Death