April 2021 passed me by in preparing for examinations and surviving the dissonance I faced between where I was living and what was happening back at home. Amma and I spoke about GloPoWriMo, but I could not be bothered to write at all. This year, I realised the month had begun only on April 2nd, and my cousin messaged me to ask whether we were writing this year. That little nudge was enough encouragement to start up. So here I sit, on April 5th, five poems in hand, posting them one-by-one. The rest of the month should see this play out with more consistency, ideally taking me back to the daily posting this blog offers the promise of.
The prompt today is based on Robert Hass’ remarkable prose poem, “A Story About the Body.” The idea is to write your own prose poem that, whatever title you choose to give it, is a story about the body. The poem should contain an encounter between two people, some spoken language, and at least one crisp visual image.
His childhood friends say it first, “Man, you look so good – you’ve lost weight, haven’t you?”. It’s the question that catches him off guard. Why do they ask when he feels like a dried raisin rather than a grape? Six months of portioning meals and no sugar, before the chorus of aunties and uncles offer their views. No pleasantries exchanged but an immediate recognition of shape, “Your cheeks are less round” and marks, “We can see your dimples”. Colours too, “Aww, he’s blushing”, as they turn to his mother and only half-jokingly mutter, “You should get him married when he’s like this”. For those minutes, he holds his tongue, thinking about the dimpled skin hiding stretch marks and how inner-shirts hide the inverted hourglass his body presents in the mirror. He has fasted for this, and so, eats orange gravy, naans, and gulab jamoons to his hearts’ content. All of this till he goes home, feels his fingers along his bulging belly and notices the jamoon he has become.