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My neighbour from eight to twelve

[ Poetry serial – Malartamil poems – in the Citizen Column on  Fridays and Mondays]

My neighbour from eight to twelve

I was at eight and
She at fifteen
My neighbour

She taught me to play
Small-silly games
At the expense of home-works

She would bend forward and
Ask me to stand over her
To pick sour-sweet mangoes
In the backyard of her hut

She would hold my jaws
In her onion smelling palms
And comb my hair in
Different styles

She would take me to
Night show cinema
Saying that whether one or two feet
A boy is a man
To safeguard a girl

I used to call her dear sister but
What could I do?
When an old rich man of fifty
Took her as second wife

She at nineteen said goodbye
To me at twelve


( From the poetry collection to be published, Poem No 22 Category “Internal”)