Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Careful Art of Picking

I spot a pair of dangling legs up a teenage mango tree, veins camouflaged in the green of a fruitless tree in the month of December. Shabari. As if a rainy canopy were home, her cracked legs dance in mid-humid-air to a distant tune that I cock my ears to hear but fail.
She smiles into her palm, pretending it were an award. A rainy wisp flies by, taking a third of the white blooms with it. Shabari cringes for a moment and rushes her arm to heart to save her prize. The wisp pendulums the dark wood she's on. Her legs resume the dance, like somebody just pushed play. She this way and thats her head, presumably to spot a coming burglar bird or a surprise wind. She brings her palm back to the two thirds of an efflorescence and opens it, as a black beetle prize jumps out and buzzes into the whiteness of the flowers. A curious picker, he pauses at every bud, as Shabari listens. Yezzzz. Nooo. Nooo. Yezzzz!
Another killer of a wind breaks a branch on the other side, as the tree wakes up and swears with the rest of its many hands and twigs. Shabari catches the nearly fallen bug with her forefinger, as he faithfully climbs onto it and jumps back into business. Yezzz! Shabari claps her hands in a baby cackle.
And as Rama would eat but the best of fruits as he came home to grace the summery months of May or June, she opens another careful palm that houses but a simple beetle; he buzzes black like the wintry air were Swiss.
The sweetest mangoes were summer beetle graves. I look away.
The white, sappy flowers felled by monsoon, garnish fresh bird droppings atop my car, as a guilty bird on the tree caws back at me like it were my fault. I stare back at the doe-eyed bird, as she promises to gouge my eyes out in bird tongue, and I wish she'd let Shabari's mango flowers ripen. With the beetles.


Anonymous said...

I like this - terser than your earlier works - but nevertheless good, if not better. What's with "the wintry air were Swiss" metaphor - didn't get that...

Arun Sethuraman said...

@jay:Thanks, man! And the 'Swiss' thingy is about how the bug shivers as if the rainy air were cold and alpine.