Scapegoat

She would follow me all over the place
where mother and I dug up mitti, sowing.
Spinning broken bike wheels in open space,
balancing crops on our heads; sweat flowing.

Once she followed me all the way to school,
where she was not welcomed. I took lashes
on my hand and stood in the corner; a fool
in the scorching sun. I loathed Masterji’s classes.

With twigs and bark, I’d greet her at the gate,
stroke, feed her away from my elder brother.
When I was away from home, she’d wait,
she’d linger like a kid waiting for her mother.

She’d give us thick milk morning and night.
When she fell ill, she’d yearn for me, crying.
I’d pat her patchy coat, she’ll be alright,
little did I know she was in pain and dying.

One day I returned, my bakri wasn’t there,
I searched the pind, our zameen, everywhere.
I came back. My heart sank. The aroma in the air.
My brother was cooking curry, not a trace of care.

* mitti – soil (Punjabi)
Masterji – teacher (Punjabi)
bakri – goat (Punjabi)
pind – village (Punjabi)
zameen – land (Punjabi)

Month of May By Kuli Kohli

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