☛ Submission for October, 2024 issue (Vol. 5, No. 2) is going on. The last date for submission is 30 September, 2024.





-       P C K Prem (India)


I lit a cigarette and stand on an earth mount

it pleases as I look at women in the fields,

with goats, sheep, cows and buffaloes

scattered and grazing

and I hear a few forced laughs.

In quick succession

they come close, talk and go hurriedly

with animals,

urgency drives everyone and I see nothing.

Twisting lips, grimacing faces

and hesitant steps,

scribble a few words of caution and homework

a burning chullaha, firewood, water pitchers

make life of a housewife dreary

but interesting,

and dull, painful and yet she laughs and laughs

and looks sadly at the trees and beyond the sky,

and silently prays for the men folk

to grow, rise and live

as she brooms, sweeps, cleans utensils, cooks food

and makes bed as she hums a joyous tune.


It makes life complete she was told years back

and I sit cross-legged beside ma

as she bakes chapattis

in a chullaha and fills chillum while father

like a lord,

sitting on bed waits for the ancestral hookah.