Sarath Payyavoor

Tapper Vasu

As he scaled down
The coconut tree
Sketched on the river,
Vasu used to say
He felt like the American President
When he viewed the sun
Through the fronds.
Past noon,
All the narrow alleys
Would be engaged in herding Vasu
From the toddy shop to home.
Once he reached the entrance,
Dancing and swaying
Singing and saying,
She would start the day’s music
Like on any other day
Exposing the shit covered bum of the kid
And her torn blouse.
In her memories,
Vasu smelt of
Stale buttermilk.
When he collapsed and died
On the way to join
A hunger strike by the tappers,
It seems Vasu mumbled last
About the American President.
Who else we have, Vasuetta,
To reach such conclusions
That the mosquitoes emanated from
The kitchen side of Sumathi’s house
The community well was not the
Congressmen’s ancestral property
How will the coconut trees
Bear witness again
To your pronouncements
That “freedom was their father’s balls!”
Will any tapper be
Telling fancy tales
To any kid
That the coconut trees are widows
And that while mounting  them with
Bosom and thighs pressed to them
They planted kisses on him?

                                                 Transl. by Ravi Shanker



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