My Shirts, Your Skirts – A poem

The younger I was the tallest chap;
disciplined, definitely standing last
during the morning prayers
with hair groomed; trousers pressed
until decency. During dramatics
dressed on the stage once
like a farmer, twice like a tree.

Coconut usually, banyan too;
if they would tell me to.
Those days were hassle free
‘cause I barely had a line or two,
but all the girls dressed as forest
fairies would come, hug me.
Protect from being chopped,
sold for timber by another girl
wearing a beard: my first love,
if you remember.

We were almost neighbors
so I never made excuses
for sharing the only umbrella
while walking back home in rains.
You’d blush as I confessed
how deeply did I love every line
you sketched. At our first paint fest
together you drew some kids
planting saplings.

It all remains so remarkably
etched in my head. Just the way
my shirts, your skirts were;
with several pastels, acrylic stains.

We filled in the blanks, also we
gave the reasons. Colored those
environmental workbook pages
with care. Some with olive, some
with sap green. On occasions
we’d make charts with bold texts,
painted in gold with neat skills,
upon tinted papers bright or
textured, some thin n’ old.

Before we left with the waste bins
to march across the town with
everything that’d help us clean
the streets, just as much as the minds
of the sellers and nearby dwellers,
shop keepers and passerbys; to not litter
with gleaming glitter, in our eyes and
grit on our face, gifted by our guts.

It all remains so remarkably
etched in my head. Just the way
my shirts, your skirts were;
with several pastels, acrylic stains.

– Anuj Mahadik

 

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