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Seek and you shall find
Goodness comes in rare, small doses
for many- pinching their nose,
swallowing their bitter dose, daily.
Dad's a good man. So good, it makes me
look bad. Overdose of goodness gushes
in me. I pull out prawn intestine,
the pseudo spine, in one swift motion.
Hoping it’s that easy to drain genetics
from me. Doctor warns,
consumes like flesh- eating bacteria.
The first time,
the office boy extends his hand, for me to fold
his sleeves- he has to move files! The next, he leans,
wants to know about tiles, would I help him with
technology? I smell him burn with desire. Passive
smokers die sooner. The third, when I report to
work after a short sick leave, he follows me home.
Terribly thirsty. No cold store in sight, he invokes
Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find,
knock and it shall be opened to you.
He stares at the rosary
hanging on my neck, imagining Jesus on the cross,
out of sight. Out of sight isn’t out of mind. Lingers,
grows and explodes. Leaving him at the door,
I turn to get water.
Feeling dizz-y, can I have a seat,
When I return with the glass- half-full,
he isn't there. Is he hiding? Expecting me
to seek? I was never a good denner. I drink
the water and wait for him to show up, when
he doesn’t, I look under the bed, sofa. Behind
the bookshelf, wallpaper, door. In the fridge,
wardrobe, washing machine, bathroom. Between
fork prongs and blades of the fan. Maybe I’m
looking in the wrong places. Inside files, my lap-
top. Under my sleeves, skin, carpet. On the altar,
St. Anthony, epitome of goodness, who helps lost
people find themselves, stares back blankly. I feel
the bacteria at work. Dad, on our way to Doctor’s
Dull since a week no?
He'll want to know.
He looks at his phone and reads: Girl
who files a missing person complaint is suspected of
murder. She pleads, Take me seriously. He must've
fallen into a hole, how'd you know if you didn't look?
The authorities suspect she might've killed him as she
didn't reveal important details. What's that man to you?
Who spoke first? Who moved first? Who breathed first?
What can we do without important details? They suspect
she's doing it for fun, to seek attention. They also suspect
she might’ve kidnapped him. Dad adds:
If she killed him,
why would she report it?
I say, after a pause,
Guilt eats you
from inside no?
Dad looks at me,
I don't think she's guilty.
Hope they help her.
When we reach Doctor’s, he says,
Tell him everything, all the symptoms, how, when, what,
I told you to write them down no?
in my ear, in pink pits beside my eyes, asks me to stick
my tongue out, puts a pipe in to look into my stomach
too, checks beneath my nails when I ask him to. When
he finds nothing, he asks Dad a rhetorical question about
my stress level, prescribes a routine:
Say no to the mirror thrice
a day. You'll be fine. I can’t promise anything. I’ll need to see you
Dad doesn’t take me to Doctor again. He notices
stress increase after the visit. I open my eyes and expect
to find the office boy looking at me, saying,
Prayers at 3 am summon the devil, not St. Anthony.
‘Seek and you shall find’ dazzles on his brown robe.
Prayers are ineffective within four walls. Church’s where
lost people are found. He enlightens. I walk out, lock clicks.
Thought you’d follow!
I’m tired of working full-time even after death, is there
no end to it? Take my advice- be unkind.
I hear him
swallow the key.
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