My First Love Letter, Poetry by Madathil Rajendran Nair

I don’t know, I can’t tell

But there was she

My classmate

With jasmine teeth

A dance perched on her feet

Bothering my budding masculinity

Genre: Love

My First Love Letter
by Madathil Rajendran Nair


It was when I was just in class three

Hovering around the tenth year of age

Something bothered me in the hours wee

A sweetness, an aroma, sweat

Or was it the morning dew on grass

That kept me awake

Rolling on my smelly bed

With a sweetness that blazed my glands


I don’t know, I can’t tell

But there was she

My classmate

With jasmine teeth

A dance perched on her feet

Bothering my budding masculinity


I knew I wanted her

I couldn’t make out what for

In a frenzy that engulfed me

Like a forest fire then I wrote

On the inside of a discarded cigarette pack

Slit open like a bleeding heart

What I felt, the first love letter

In words that moved like ants

All over me and my heart


I handed it to her brother

Two years younger

In secret, behind the school toilet yonder

Hoping it would reach and vanquish her


But, there was the maths teacher

Fondling his scorpion tail moustache

Watching the goings-on

Who intercepted the missive

From the hands of the shivering brother


I thought I was in for hell

Punishment, beatings, no one can tell

But nothing happened to my surprise

Till at last I noticed

The school headmistress at my fence

In a rare bosom chat with my mom, her friend


I was playing behind my house

Rolling stones in the setting sun

Like a forlorn Ulysses adorned in sweat

Yet I knew I was their subject


Days passed and Diwali came

The Indian festival of lights

It was time for the early morning bath

Under the glistening stars

My mom poured warm water over me from a tub

And I misbehaved in a gleeful jump

She cautioned and slapped me on my thigh

With a fire unknown in her eyes

“Idiot, have you begun

Writing love letters at this age? ”


That was the first and last time

She ever beat me

A lovely mother was she

And, often I wonder what happened

To that passionate missive of mine


Perhaps, it was blown over by the winds

Over fences and thorns and profusely bled

And withered in the sun and rain

Decayed down the channels of time


And I met her of late one of these days

At a temple festival when I braved

To tell her about my missive missed

That perhaps could have changed our fate


She laughed out in a guffaw

An aging grandma of three

And I could see at sixty-eight

Her jasmines were still intact

What more could a lover want

When he has only a toothless smile

In exchange, Oh, why do we age?



    * * * * *

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