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Bathing in Neem Water by Rajashree Gandhi

Art by Omkar Choudhury

Winter is still just

polishing its fangs,

and here my blood is

icing up into pain.

I could’ve begged the

neem tree to swallow me

whole, instead I have

bucketed its boiling emerald

The tongue finds bitter

what is sweet for the body

Neem water reaches where

his fingertips can't and

a medical orgasm explodes.

All my smells gather, travel

to my long distance lover

faster than an overnight train.

He misses how his palms

caught fire after a massage

with oil in which two garlic

cloves swam. My shoulders

concaved with surprise at

this origami of love. So if I

can’t bathe with him,

I’ll design neem teabags

by the dozen I'll throw

them in the growling water

until the neighbours and

their cats find out how I

relieve my body ache this winter.

Like a class-teacher scouting

for children at the end of a picnic,

I fish out the remaining

neem leaves into my palms.

As I kiss them in gratitude

they smell like they can cure

hundred more pained bodies.

Follow Rajashree's poetry here and be a part of Omkar's artistic journey here.

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