Poetry: Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca

Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca

Vaccination Date 

Love,

How long has it been

since we went on a date?

You said you couldn’t remember.

But yesterday,

walking hand in hand

in downtown Calgary

You smiled when I said it felt like a date,

Only our destination The Immunization Clinic

was different, yet felt just as romantic

as walking along Worli Seaface in Bombay

All those years ago,

Destination, Shobha Bhelpuri Restaurant.

I hope you felt the same way

somewhere deep down

In your heart.

 

You did say I looked nice

just before we left

for the vaccination date!

Later, you changed ‘nice’ to ‘lovely’.

I remember how I loved ‘lovely’

The way you said it.

We’re going again for our second shot

Together, hand in hand

On another vaccination date.

Vaccinations can come with unexpected blessings!

*‘The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven’.

*The quotation is from Milton’s Paradise Lost


 Pandemic Closet Cleaning 

So many voices tell you

How to survive the Pandemic

How to ride the wave

That’s drowning all of us

Sans exception.

Inner voices speaking messages of hope

Cannot be ignored.

’Clean the closet, organize the closet’

Like the chorus line, a repetitive refrain,

I feel I must respond to the call.

Time seems elastic, stretching endlessly

Like a shore line.

 

I open the closet, close it again

The pandemic is synonymous with procrastination

The desire to clean and downsize is numbed.

The chorus chants, ‘Do it now, you have so much time’.

 

But love, do you remember

The white *Salwar Kameez with the gold buttons

With the sheer diaphanous gold colored *chunni

The one that is forty-two years old?

I cannot bring myself to give that one away

No matter how good the intention to clean.

Remember, how we got off the bus, hand in hand,

as it turned the corner.

The sign SALE, caught your eye,

It was an exhibition of Indian outfits

Picking out the white and gold one

You said, ‘This will look good on you.’

 

Words like that in my memory

Fresh as the soft touch of the fabric

From all those years ago

Fusing memory, dream and desire.

*chunni is a long scarf worn by South Asian women.

 

Soup Prayer

Lord,

Daily conversation with you is great

What I really want though

Is to invite you to my home for a meal.

Sweet corn and chicken soup is on the menu,

It’s my son’s favorite

He’s away for work,

Do drop by and surprise us

No appointment needed.

The soup bowls are pretty too

And I promise you good company

As always.

 

Advance booking is also not necessary.

This is not the first time

I have sent you an invitation

Do you recall when I looked heavenward

Wishing you were at the table

In *Duke’s Cuisine in Bombay

Where they served the best

Sweet Corn and Chicken soup?

Come quickly Lord

I know you won’t disappoint me.

*Duke’s Cuisine was a Chinese Restaurant in Bombay that we loved.

 

 

Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca was born and raised in a Jewish family in Mumbai. Her first book of poems, 'Family Sunday and other poems', was published in 1989. with a second edition in 1990. Her poem, 'How to light up a poem', has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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