Three Poems: Meenakshi Mohan

Meenakshi Mohan

Scattered Colors of Saffron on a Ruptured Rainbow 

(This poem is on Marsha Mehran’s life.  Mehran, a best-selling Iranian author of Pomegranate Soup (2005) and Soda Bread (2008), was found a week later after her death in a shanty apartment in Mayo, Ireland on April 2014.  She was thirty-six-year old)

There is a sacredness in tears … they speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues                                                                      

Washington Irving

 

 

Some called me a maniac, some highly depressed,

some too young to die, some a maverick and a loner.

They did not know – I was building a rainbow in the hollow

a rainbow of dreams, world trotting yet to find a place called home.

 

Mutinous politics, broken policies, shattered home

stole my dreams, my identity, my abode.

In the shelter of the holiest mountains of Ireland,

I wanted to find peace, yet, the shadow of Croagh Patrick

weaved a dark spell on my psyche.

 

My once gracile figure became a tumescent-ashen structure.

Sleepless nights, uncontrollable trembles,

heart as if an ancient tarantella inside my chest –

I was hiding from myself and the world, imprisoned inside my own dark shell.

A do-not-disturb sign on my door stopped all to come.

 

My body and mind could not bear the pain.

They found my decayed, bloated body a week later

on the rubbish-strewn cottage

amid chocolate wrappers and mineral bottles.

It was perhaps electrolyte imbalance, they said.

 

I, a best-selling author,

a culinary expert of Persian cuisine who once enchanted people

with the wafts of cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron floating through the town,

in the end, lay there in my malodorous vomit mesh.

My dreams are not meant to be.

 

I needed a shoulder to cry. I needed love and someone to listen to me, But,

I wrote my own story with the scattered colors of saffron on a ruptured rainbow.

My soul still wandering –

Is there still a magnificent, perfect rainbow of my dream -- My home!

 

 

And She Cried

(My poem, And She Cried, is inspired by Torey L. Hayden’s book, One Child (1980). In this book, Torey, an instructor of severely challenged children, wrote about Sheila, a six-year-old child who never spoke, never cried, and her eyes were filled with hate. Torey fought to reach Sheila, to bring the abused child back from her secret nightmare.  Everyone said Sheila was lost forever – everyone except teacher Tory Hayden.  I dedicate this poem to many children like Sheila and pray that they have someone like Torey in their lives)

 

And She Cried …

She never cried,

abandoned by her teenage mother on a roadside --

father in and out of prison.

She built armor around her tiny stature, rigid, devoid of emotions --

loner, atrocious, committing horrifying acts of violence.

 

At six, she abducted a three-year-old, tied her to a tree, burned her,

and set fire at the migrant camp,

where she sheltered with her contumelious father.

She shuttled from family to neighbors to juvenile centers.

No one wanted this wild, unreachable child.

 

Then she came to Torey --

her diminutive stilted body, clothed in worn denim,

matted hair and a bad smell, covered with blues and bruises,

seething with hostility and anger, brought many challenges—

took goldfish out from aquarium, gouged their eyes out with the tip of a pencil,

colored rabbit excrement for artwork.

“You are going to whip me?” she trembled,

“No, I don’t whip kids,” Torey replied.

 

With Sheila’s denials to work and “I hate you” outbursts, Torey stood stalwart.

She discerned the brilliance behind the child’s dark, gloomy veneer.

She guided, encouraged with firm solicitous patience,

the hard surface was slowly cracking,

the pearl was breaking from its mollusk --

and there was a glint of a smile.

 

And one day, the time finally came. She cried.

Torey gathered the child into her arms, rocked her back and forth,

feeling the dampness of her tears,

and her small fingers digging into her skin.

***


And She cried and cried and cried!

 

Epilogue as quoted from the book: 

In the mail came a crumpled water-stained piece of notebook paper inscribed in blue felt-tip marker:

 

To Torey with much “love.”

 

All the rest came

They tried to make me laugh …

Leaving me alone with the echoes of

Laughter, that was not mine.

Then you came …

And you made me cry … Until all my tears turned into joy.

***

Shadows of Yesteryears

 

When the shadows of yesteryears

creep in the silent crevices of life,

confused, bewildered,

I know not the differences

between reality and dreams.

Reality is cruel,

I would rather sleep in a perpetual dream –

a world of eternal peace!

 


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