The Chant

‘Be a few days late, but never abandon like last month or the one before’
I chant through my sweaty smiles.
A plate of juicy papaya, a few sliced pineapple pieces
and a packet of exotic seeds sit everywhere I turn.
I take an extra mile walk for this week, while my breasts are still tender 
and then I meditate, pin on subliminal therapy
for the Red Goddess to appear.
“Shower on me. Bleed on me.” 
I keep reciting, every day every month,
yet she misses me, or I’m convinced my body misses her,
with these ovaries that are already ballooned with cysts,
decorated with tiny beads on the edges, like a string of fairy lights.
I sacrifice the little joys of coffee, ice cream and everything sweet,
While stress builds up, molesting my skin scattering its knives of acne 
and extra hairs on my jaw, chest and everywhere it pleases,
leaving a trail of missed periods like footprints and bookmarks.
I try sleeping through this mayhem of hormone imbalance 
But somehow end growing tighter in my new clothes. 
I just have to keep my calm the doctor says
prescribing a handful of pills colored and shaped for geometry lessons.
I pray to the moon, the grains and the banyan tree,
yet when I bite into the orange flesh of the papaya angrily, 
staining the floors with the orange red juice of it,
it’s already 80 days past the time, and I have not been stained,
with the asterisks of my period blood yet.
O How I wish for a miracle of red, a pain of joy and a rain of blood.

The Chair

There is a chair that stands at the corner of our drawing room,
which is also our master bedroom.
Since, the chair is placed near the front door, duppattas fly on its arms,
just in case someone needs to rush into the godly hours of the smoldering sun.
Now, the chair is in front of the window as well,
fetching enough amount of wind as well as heat,
that’s how the wet towels reach up the back of the chair, lying shoulder wide.
The seat can’t be left empty, can it?
Hence the clothes dry from the line, now blown up by removal of water
Occupying the seat, waiting to be pressed to a line.
Somehow the cats like the height and being attracted to the warmth,
leaving a shiver of ultrathin fur like vermicelli strands on the chair and all its way.
Bed sheets, blankets, hankies; every kind of cloth find an excuse to land up there,
like the chair itself was a Bermuda triangle attracting everything towards it.
At night, with the lights switched off, it brings out silhouettes of anything but a chair.
And I wonder, mother what shape you mould into at night,
as you crumple on your side to sleep,
is it yourself at least now?

Microwave Oven

That Friday when you voluntarily ordered a microwave oven, 
I imagine sniffing the aroma of melting ghee,
The heat of dal wafting, clutching the scent of minced coriander,
The sweetened warmth of milk in tea and coffee, 
Glasses clanking and laughter echoing. 
But when the showroom people arrived, 
in their shoes and caps for publicity,
you decide by yourself to keep it inside your cabin, 
"For all." you gleam like a lottery was won.
And I think of the red-orange flames of pyre, 
the blazes of witch hunt and the sunburn of your stare boring into our backs,
tracing the rounds of our bottoms and the curves of our sides.
Finally, you place that box spitting heat radiation
to the cornered junction of your room, 
I can only think of mousetraps now, 
how your hands would brush while helping,
how the tiniest squeak of mice is always unheard. 
It asked for the cheese you would then say. 
You being our guide can say a thousand words 
an oracle from the flames and the men in your world would simply believe.
But what you don’t understand is, how over centuries
the mice learnt well to smell traps like yours 
and avoid them, while leaving you to eat the poisoned food you kept for her.

Periods in times of PCOD

A Pleiades of bright ruby sparkles, ripple on my underwear, 
staining it in my red outcry of joy. 
I feel the waves of warm slick of blood 
between my thighs rush out in hurry, 
as if the whole ghosting game for the past months has been tiring on her as well. 
Since the last ultrasound illuminated 
tiny grapes of follicles sequinning along the 
boundaries of my swollen ovaries, 
what I yearn for the most is the hopeful rustic smell of ache 
drilling my back and melting my knees. 
Now that they all have arrived in grandeur after months of hibernation,
I feel new as an old version of me, before curbing to the possession of PCOD,
ready to teleport myself to the ancient times 
where people celebrated their monthly surge of blood 
and I would readily host a festival 
for the arrival of my untimely and ever delayed splash of menstrual blood. 

About the Author

Joanna George (She/Her) is a research student at Pondicherry University. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review,West Trestle Review, Lumiere Review, Literary Shanghai, Mookychick and others. She tweets at j_leaseofhope.

Image by Josep Martins/Unsplash