Bathing in Winter

April 21, 2018

Out there,

Snowy flakes have fallen in layers

And coated the grey mud

With sugary white surface.

Rugged wall-faces and shelters excepted,

there is an ethereal gleam

Of white spread profusely everywhere.

 

Clouds redouble hiding sun’s face.

Squall in streets anticipate

More fleece-fall from mid skies.

A muddy room choked by frost

Stands closed with a brick tilted up against the door.

Night has chased with its cold hands

The whole family towards the fire-place.

 

Mother has heated water with dung cakes.

A big steel tray lies in the middle of the room.

With a cheap soap and carpet shred for scrubbing

Mother washes each in turn.

A child sits in the tray trembling.

There is steam whirling in the air

And screams of children from scrubbing.

 

Water is sprinkled everywhere

On the clay-floor in tiny puddles.

Sweat drops appear on mother’s nose

Having washed all her little animals,

She scatters ashes over the wet floor,

Anoints the whimpering children with Vaseline.

They complain of burning sensations everywhere.

 

Soon they slip away into oblivion.

Mother remains awake until late.

Her fears curl up beside fireplace.

The old clock ticks to annoy the dark silence.

Fire sings the old shoe with blue flames.

She pokes the ashes coming out,

And wait like buried ruins for no one.

 

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