A portrait requested the matriliny assembles
drawn into pre-ordained hierarchy.
Varu, varu! Come quickly!
Photographer is getting impatient
Like magnets, unable to resist the pull
lured from hidden corners, nooks, crevices
coaxing and cajoling, begrudging
giggling and griping.
Leave it! Come fast!
Aiyo, my leg is paining, let me sit!
Kitchen abandoned, left to gods and ghosts,
vegetables half cut, flame extinguished.
Laundry languishing in lukewarm water
Off the iron, come fast! Fast-fast!
Adjusting saris, centring pottus, chatter and clatter
Stop arranging your hair, more wiping won’t make less grey!
Scrubbing faces with pallus, swiping snacks on the go
affixing, aligning, pushing chairs under tables.
Perch on chairs pulled from portico–
cushioned, wooden, vinyl.
Muthassi, bedecked in widow’s white, centred
on the largest throne. Monochrome matriarch
ruling her polychrome pantheon. A polished grain of rice
the wannabees and wait-your-turns, scattered husks around her.
Mothers all, big and small, ripe and unripe, real and fictive
pressed together like salted green mangoes packed into baranis
awaiting their achar fate. Click! The moment is preserved
embalmed, entombed to be pored and poured and pawed over
till faces have faded, colours have muted
and names are long forgotten.
This painting captures the poem beautifully, but it was originally written after Family Figures, by Sosa Joseph (India) 2013. Click here to view.
This poem first appeared in Brushstrokes ll.
Asha Rajan is a South Indian-Australian writer who lives and creates in Boorloo (Perth) on Whadjuk, Noongar boodjar (Western Australia). Asha’s cultural history and love of animals often find their way into her writing. Her favourite bird is the flamingo and her favourite sea creature is the leafy sea dragon. She is published in various places including Ellipsis Zine, Peril Magazine, Rabbit Poetry Journal, Mountain Bluebird Magazine, and Portside Review. Website: asharajanwriter.com Instagram: asha_rajan_writer
Radically curious and forever dedicated to the Arts! Lena is an Australian-South Indian (Kerala) Creative Producer working in Visual and Performing Arts. Born in Boorloo her work thematically centres on belonging, migration, family, dance, inclusion and harmony. She is a multidisciplinary artist with a background as a performer and choreographer. Her visual art uses traditional painting styles and digital forms for illustration of literature. She is drawn to cultural collaborative work with a great respect and love for First Nation People and the Indian diaspora. www.indiindi.org
The Ekphrastic Review
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