Ema Keithel (July 8th)

Fish of all kinds meet here,
Half smoked, half dead, half rotten

“I swear by Ema Leimaren, echa yokpa ngamdana mange
They were just caught this morning from Loktak
See the gills, smell it, smell it”

Plucked off breasts on lukmais
Unsold like their cheap humor.
Dreams get drowned
In the glasses of black tea
Like slices of ginger and lemon.
Flies oozing their sperm swarming
On kaboks, on honey, on the notes.

Women of all kinds join the noise,
Smoking half smoked bidi,
Blowing smoke from the nose,
Smiling as fresh as fish out of water,
Wearing flowers in their ears,
With the scent of chinghi creating ripples of fragrance.
Poets say it is the scent of Mother Earth,
But they care not for the poets
Nor for who sings ‘Hallelujah’
All they care is about their guavas and papayas

“I swear by Ema Leimaren, echa yokpa ngamdana mange
They are not from Moreh”

They bring laughter from huts in torn thumoks
They bring stories in red tomatoes from the hills
They bring smiles in rotten potatoes and sour plums
Tears leaking from torn thumoks

In pineapple seasons,
Laughing at Bheigyachandra
And their far away- husbands’ testicles
They sell pineapples
In sarongs of all colors

“I swear by Ema Leimaren, echa yokpa ngamdana mange
They are as sweet as honey”

They call with their hands
Rich gentle men and say:
“O Pamuba! I got lots of thing to sell
Come, come buy from me
This will be the first of the day
And you will be the luckiest in town.”

Some whisper to others
“This man has got eyes like pineapples”
Others giggle and whisper
“But we got only two nipples, ha ha”

“Hey bitch! Do ask your lady killer husband
To come here again” giggles
“Ho Ebemma! Don’t even think of him in your dream.
Do you see these Uhmorock?” they giggle again

Altogether their laughter,
Their stories a noise
To the ears of this city of villages
But a single laugh is a cry
That they can’t save for the last meal,
A meal of aluminum plates.
The city dwellers take away their laughter in pockets
The rag pickers dump their stories in their sacks
While Bheigyachandra keeps looking
Searching for the stars
In broad daylight

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