Some days I just forget to smile.
I open my eyes to a bedroom wall
Whose plastic paint has long ago ceased to be plastic
As it falls of more like coloured powder
on to the higgledy piggledy pile of shoes below
Like make up unsuitable
A matt finish on surfaces those look good when glossy.
I look at the window
The rain has been hard enough
To enter my room
Through gaps in shut glass and rusted iron
And drip onto the floor
Where precautionary newspaper spreads
Litter themselves to soak up the irreverent water spills.
The floor looks well read, soaking up knowledge through
I stare at myself
And dread putting on my clothes
The bra makes the skin
Under my breast itch
And the underwear
Rubs against my thighs
Friction of a kind I can do without.
A loose sweat shirt is all I care for.
But that won't do.
So I just forget to smile.
Till I hear the woman next door
Hollering at her kids,
And the old man on the other side
Whimpering in his bed.
And I remind myself
Things could be worse.
I have to remember to smile.
(C) ABHA IYENGAR
Fisrt published, M.A.G. 2003