A Suitcase too small

Vidya S. Panicker

One tall bottle of golden coconut oil
cured with black peppers and Tulsi,
to massage my hair
and a bottle of dried and crushed
hibiscus leaves, to wash it off later.

Two slabs of sandal wood, one
inside the wardrobe, for that
lingering fragrance on my clothes,
another to grind to paste every day,
to smear on my forehead.

The bark of acacia, slivered
and rolled-- my loofah.
A suitcase of pickles, preserves,
chutney powder, pappads,
fryums, chips and spices.

But if I had a suitcase large enough,
I would take our temple,
the marigolds in front of it,
the aroma of incense sticks and lamp oil,
the lotus pond, our panchayat library,
the musk of old, read pages,
and every moment we spent inside
pretending to read.