The day before the rape,
I spend an ancient afternoon
in a kitchen clammy with childhood,
A dark hand covering the sky-monsoon.
Mother’s voice hollow hummed
like a half bewitched beckoning
her arthritic fingers turning limes
in coriander with unease, tensing.
This disease is new to her still
a drought settled deep within her bones
corrupting the fiber of her movements
pain drowning her deftness to stone.
Outside the storm assaults the earth
as though at war with a holy land
the dry thirst ends with dust fleeing
water takes over and floods sand
A clatter, a movement, a murmur
of apology to the room instead of me tonight
the chutney will curdle later for the first time
but she does not know that yet; hindsight.
The past is time travel with prejudice,
mother will remember this moment differently,
such is the result of memorising specters.
Even the haunting is diagnosed individually.
Later as fabric still rips violently outside
in a thunderous, powerful composition,
we sit in candlelight, watching the curtains.
Mother calls the lightning dark-lit premonitions
A decade has passed like a stranger
through a decrepit, elapsed town
yet this soft oil painting of a memory lingers
like the last jewel in a fallen sky’s crown.
By Nikita Gill
Nikita Gill has been published in Literary Orphans, Agave Magazine, Monkeybicycle, Dying Dahlia Review and is soon to be published in Eunoia Review. Her poetry anthology Wild Embers has been published by Hatchette Books.