The Helpers

Aunt Maria Pura is a pious woman. Religious practice is deeply rooted in her life: everyday she goes to the first mass in the morning and she confesses regularly. The knowledge of the holy texts makes her feel strong and secure. The weight of the Church’s condemnation is a stigma. Surely, she never gets to the point of questioning miracles, oracles or prophecies  or Satan, even if all these things oppose reason decisively.
During times of crisis she always knows what Saint to call upon for help: she has one for every occasion.
St. Geraldo Maiella who intercedes for pregnant women;
St. Zita, for the fatigue of the housework;
for desperate and difficult wedding cases, St. Rita da Cascia;
St. Margherita da Cortona, whose lover refused to marry her even after she gave birth to a child, for the unwed mothers;
St. Elizabeth of Hungary for problems with in-laws;
St. Elena, whose husband put an end to their marriage in order to marry a Roman princess, for cases of divorce;
St. Alfonso Maria de Liguori, one of the busiest among the Saints that the Church has ever known, for those who basically struggle to make a good use of their time.
“And as long as the house keys are misplaced, St. Antony will never miss his devotees” she uses to say.
She can never get enough. And when someone tries to talk to her about the world outside, Maria Pura’s laughing expression is immediately dark.
Some days, although I pass in front of her, she doesn’t see me.  She stands there, immobile, with open arms, as  though in expectancy of stigmata …

in procession
Saint Anthony’s  face  fills
facebook walls

Antonietta Losito

The Helpers

Vortex

ratcheting down up stream the scream

so let me see, you don’t really care but every now is the wish that wasn’t, right? had me that time though, even as I wasn’t going to look, the fog shifted: so nearly wild up and down the sense spectrum but then the rhythm of the Nabhi chakra pulsed; the draw into the Void

green slipping into green

Samar Ghose

Vortex

Distal Pulse

the phone call from the psych: she’s taken it badly. I know, I say.

the climb
for the moon
not this
not this

*

about to wrap myself in her scarf I stop.

what if I loose my sense of her?

worse
things

I tell
myself

happen
at sea

*

the truculence of children. on and off the rain

jumpers
do they see the sky
above

Samar Ghose

Distal Pulse

Contract on English

I heard the two magic words today. Wren. And Martin of course. I couldn’t catch the face that said it, but I have a good memory for voices, and it will not be long before I match it to the face. From which I will then proceed to pluck out the eyelashes one by one, and then make him eat it garnished over stale poha. This colonial hangover, the rules of which can be observed by both Mr. Wren and Mr. Martin only in the breach, needs to be given a decent bonfire, preferably with its supporters in it.

But though I peer at the conference-goers stuffing their faces with rice and gongura chutney, I am unable to make out the voice. But I reckon there are others who share my sentiments, so I can relax in peace that the assassination will happen soon.

in the closet
the violence triggered
by my violin

Raamesh Gowri Raghavan

Contract on English

Attention Span

He’d call me to his desk and show me cat stuff. Grumpy Cat memes. Cats playing pianos. Cat video ensembles. Cat GIFs. Boxing cats, ninja cats, bathing cats. Cats in funny clothes. Surprised cats. Then one day, he stopped.

Claymore field …
the narrow road between
mother and father

Raamesh Gowri Raghavan

Attention Span

Forgiveness

There are people who probably deserve no less than Pastor Oats’ double-headed battleaxe. At the least, a bastinado. Okay, a verbal ticking off. Fine, fine, I believe in ahimsa. I shall just be passive aggressive. No, that will not do? Yes, okay, I will smile and shake hands.

feathers fly
a nut
is casus belli

Raamesh Gowri Raghavan

Forgiveness

The Agent Of Doom

When the doorbell rang one afternoon I tied up the dog which was snarling and straining at the leash and opened the door. Just a crack.

“Hullo!” said a cheery voice through the gap. “Hullo, hullo, hullo!”

“Are you a salesman?” I asked. Bingo has a nose for salesman.

“Not at all, not at all!” said the alpine echo. “I bring glad tidings.”

On hearing these words I yanked open the door and almost laid out the red carpet for the spectral voice. The fact was I had bought a lottery ticket with a number ending in 3 as advised by the friendly neighbourhood numerologist. I was positive the ticket had been drawn and I was in for more money than you could compute on a pocket calculator.

billing time—
the computer salesman
counts on his pinkies

As the door opened the voice assumed a body with a bespectacled face attached at the top. This face wore a grin which almost matched my own. After all it isn’t every day one wins the lottery. The grinning apparition came in and plonked onto the most comfortable armchair without so much as a by your leave. But I didn’t care. I was too busy planning how to spend the swag.

With the briefest of pauses I dashed into the kitchen and dashed back with a steaming hot cup of tea and chocolate cream biscuits. I almost apologised to the man for not having chilled champagne handy. He ate the biscuits methodically, no doubt chewing each mouthful a hundred times a advocated by medics. Splendid fellows, medics. Having gone through the biscuits he paused only to smile beatifically at me before slurping the tea. He then put down the plate with the air of one about to spring a cheque on me. I waited with bated breath. At last he opened a briefcase and pulled out an envelope.

“Congratulations!” he said, beaming. “Your life insurance policy for ten thousand rupees has matured. We are sure you will want to renew the policy with us. We assure you of our best services at all times.”And with those words he slid the envelope between my numb fingers and vanished. Like a ghost at daybreak.

What could I say. I was glad I hadn’t invested in a bottle of Veuve Cliquot.

celebrations—
after the champagne party
we go for a drink

Gautam Nadkarni

The Agent Of Doom