We Live in a House Near the Marsh, poetry by R. Sreejith Varma at Spillwords.com
Kishore B S

We Live in a House Near the Marsh

We Live in a House Near the Marsh

written by: R. Sreejith Varma


Our house is flanked on the right
by a marsh once peopled by
Muntjacs feral rabbits peacocks snakes & bandicoot rats.
There were a few birds, ashen-faced, too
that threw into convulsions
the branches of young birches
& bamboos
as they flitted about & perched.

For a while later, it was a farm.
Chatty women squatted on their haunches
& planted saplings or poured manure.

We bought the house much later.
Our previous house was on a hill.
“Our skyscraper house,” we used to joke.

We never shut the window that opens into the marsh.
Winds draw in the briny air.
The sickly moon in the middle of the sky
is the ghost of a man
who hanged himself.

Looking at the landscape now
you won’t say
it was once a small forest
or a paddy field.
We don’t look like people who once lived in a house on a hill.
You don’t talk about your family beyond two or three generations.

And surely, I have no memory of the time
I lived alone in the city
in a matchbox apartment
right on the twelfth floor
when my life hinged around buildings
and people who moved like
walking buildings.

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