Poetry: Amit Parmessur

Amit Parmessur
The Neem Tree

Above the untrimmed hedge over there,
the neem tree is shrinking. It’s devoid of its puffs
of white flowers, of its honey-like scent.
We shared its shade with many bees, remember?

The rope that tied us is now a matador unable to fight
anymore. It’s like a string of rotten pearls
shrouded in sorrow, like a rose unwilling to give
her perfume to a fickle man.

As I meander in the exhausted garden, your
whispers disturb the wind-beaten shadows around.
The neem leaves lie so dead.
Even your Shitala won’t come on her donkey now,

holding her broom and pot of cold water to protect us,
to let us share the shade with the bees.
One neem leaf beside me on the bench
has the hole that took you away.

It’s as morose as the lightning searching its body.
It’s where I lost myself too, crying, tortured,
unable to fight anymore. We shared a bond,
grandmother, but we won’t share this new house.


Master of reverse psychology, like
the cigarette box saying Smoking kills,
she is a bony Sisyphus who has
a mountain of boulders on a mountain.

She buys and sells everyone but doesn’t have
a price herself. She has long scissors for
each close, healthy relationship you have.
As she moves from person to person, so

do the commas in her sentences. Her
dirty stalk cozens the fertile gloom from
the night and carries it into your mouth.
She carves frail heels out of your fit knees, turns

your eyes into hers. Maybe one day she’ll
see sorrow—and how costly it can be.

Going Out

The clothes look bored on
the line. She decides to give
them wide hips, thick thighs,
big-butt confidence, firm breasts,
and a smile. She is a pear.

The jewels lie on
the table, mute. They were for
her mother. Now her
babies, they soon cover the
noisy landscape of her scars.

The sandals sleep, boxed
like love letters of exes.
They were first pictures,
then hers with a few clicks. She
makes them carry her thrilled frame.

The hat sits like a
solemn cake in the closet.
Once she wears it, she
could sing and dance all day on
the president’s tomb and go

scot-free. The lipsticks
stand erect in the holder.
She applies some blood
on her lips and is ready
to kill with her breath and glance.

She sticks decor on
the walls of her fingers to
hide the hate names. Thumb
and finger equally graced,
they shine and wink like cat’s eyes.

She goes down the stairs.
The door creaks. She fades into
the night. She gets raped.


Short permanence. Like dewdrops on roses,
I swap wintry and heated hours in spring.

I’m a fresh sky of fireflies near fake suns.

A baked elephant on wet paper legs,
I kill the bud and wait for the flower.

I’m a piranha afraid of quokkas.

I lose time in myself, myself in time.
Rotting like an egg with a two-faced yolk,

I’m made of glass but can cut a dagger.

A broken lighter that you flick and flick
to get a spark, I make mistakes and the
mistakes make me. Sometimes, my eyes open

me; I’m a flat, dry tornado and a
vertical horizon of angst... just me.

Bio: Amit Parmessur, 39, is from Quatre-Bornes, Mauritius. He spent his adolescence hating poetry before falling in love with its beauty. His poems have appeared in several online magazines, namely The Rye Whiskey Review, Night Garden Journal, Hobo Camp Review, Ann Arbor Review and Ethos Literary Journal. He is a two-time Pushcart Prize and two-time Best of the Web nominee.

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