Sushma Naithani

The Conman

He could emerge anywhere
loud, sonorous,
delusional, narcissist...
his ego knows no bound
he employs blatant fear mongering
to rile up his base.
He distorts humor
twists language,
and appears ecstatic.
The crowd roars and soars along.
Often, he cries
the conman is the victim...


As I approached forty,
my doctor suggested:
a baseline mammogram
I procrastinated--
for a while genetics was my excuse
but, after four years I succumbed
as 75% breast cancers remain unexplained
before my appointment
an unease shrouded me for a few days
I slogged at work, I slogged at home
I slept ok--

On the inevitable day
I handed my breasts one by one
to an older woman technician
for sliding and fixing inside a cold, metallic machine
each time when that thing pounded
and an X-rays beams passed
I held my breath, I clenched my teeth
for coping through the day
I had a book in my bag
but, couldn’t open it until the bedtime
this how a series of nuisance began—


My heart will never be a well-tended bed of flowers
Or a skillfully pruned orchard
Or a sacred grove
But like a wild dense forest of blooming rhododendrons
At times, red flames would surround me
My eyelids could weigh a ton
And breathing would be hard
I would say:
“I don't fancy rhododendrons
I do not want the pollen”.
I am a vagabond
Roving from one end of earth to another
Within my heart rhododendrons blossom
Gradually, softly, silently
O lovely rhododendrons!
Lovely rhododendrons.


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