A June Afternoon

by Pratibha Kelapure

               Innocence Long before Pandemic – Circa 1975

standing by the roadside, in sweaty sari
by the street vendor’s wicker basket
I enjoy the spiraled pineapple slices
the delightful taste revives my hazy brain
sweltering in dampness, Bombay sizzles
soles of my chappal cling to the pavement,
I rush to the railway station to catch my train,
but oh, these trees hold me in their thrall
The golden spires of towering poinciana
turn the city of toil into the city of gold.
pink cassias, the soft scent of mogra
afternoon evaporates; a sudden sound
a loud sky boom, the sweet petrichor of
the first monsoon drops and steaming earth
A lightning flash and the roaring thunder
shower the city with joy and wonder
My sari is soaking wet, I curse my umbrella
My mind full of thoughts of home
and aroma of warm dal and rice

Pratibha Kelapure is an Indian-American poet residing in California. Her poems appear in Choice Words: Writers on Abortion (Anthology, Haymarket Books, 2020), Entropy Magazine, Plath Poetry Project, miller’s pond poetry, The Lake, and many other literary magazines. Varada J.M is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.

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