The One Who Should Have

A short story in a poem

The one who was supposed
  to suckle me on belonging and warmth –
                 and how else could one learn of these things? –
             and was supposed to teach me how to
                                                                       love and
                                                              forsake –
                                  for one cannot be without the other, I guess. –
                  and how to forgive and forget –
                                      as cliché as this may sound; –

the one who was meant
           to show me some of the basic ways of
                                the world,
                      such as dissimulation, faking empathy,
                                 and the importance of not hurting the ones
                                                        you love,
                                                  or supposed to love –
                                unless it is ultimately necessary, that is,
                           in case of conflict of values, interests and such; –

 the one who was meant
         to teach me
                          the absolute need
                      for communication by touch;

the one who was supposed
     to see the world through the
                    filter of my being, and my smiles,
                                            my desires and my cries;

the one who was initially intended
             to help grow me strong,
                      strong enough to rather the world,
                      and the various complexes she herself would
                                   necessarily imbed in me:

the one who was supposed to do
           all of the above, and much more,
              who was initially intended to do so, and more,
                                 before God in Heaven,
                                    or the Devil in Hell,
                        had a change of mind,
                                and heart,
                                and soul…;

the one who should have,
              but ultimately did not…

  cried havoc,
                  on the same minute
                      of the same hour
                              of the selfsame day,
                                              of my inauspicious,
                                                       yet unavoidable,
                                                    and perhaps even necessary
                                                                                                  b i r t h.

She cried havoc, she reeked holy terror, she oozed hell,
              then, she cringed a little, just a little,
                    on the wet and blood-soaked bed,
                   spasmodically clinched
                                      her fist,
      for few hapless moments,
                                                             all over

                                                                                                She died.


Her eventual substitute proved weak, careless and incompetent,
        at least by my standards,
              and they are, I confess, rather exacting,
                             which is why she too had to die –
             though not as soon as she should have, I admit.

The two, perhaps, not too ironically,
         now lie in the same tomb,
             the same small ugly-looking tomb,
                             just next to my father’s own,
                                              and my father’s father’s,
                                      just beneath my contemptuous feet.

I spit.

I lay the necessary bouquet of flowers,
             murmur the meaningless age-old prayers,
                            make a show of hypocritical affection, 
                                  for the benefit of my
                and downright sycophant,
        even macabre,


Then I leave.
This will be my last such visit.

I smile.

March 2001