My mother didn't birth me, she said.
'I plucked you from a tree,
a Papaya tree', she says.
'It rained torrents that Chait* night,
a storm raged, tearing apart
all that came its way
our hut was blown, everything swept away
the tree shuddered, so did the fruits
I spent the night clinging to the scarred trunk
worried about our next meal,
a wild gale, then, bent the Papaya tree
I latched on to you while your siblings
fell apart. Bursting seedlings over my body.
With all my strength, I plucked you
the stem and branches bruised my hands and arms
streaks of blood trickled and covered your face
you had a tender, pale skin.
Can you feel the scar on your forehead ?
That's where my silver bracelet was lodged.
You weren't ripe, not yet.
Next morning, still trembling, I hid you
in the warmth of the last cloth on my body, thereon
you slept in my ***** till
the first rain of Baisakh**.
Your father, she said,
'had gone seeding the fields'.
She said, 'You are the fruit of my labour.'
*the Indian calendar month of March-April ** the Indian calendar month of April-May