“An Old Woman” -By Arun Kolatkar

An old woman grabs
hold of your sleeve
and tags along. .

She wants a fifty paise coin.
She says she will take you
to the horseshoe shrine.

You’ve seen it already.
She hobbles along anyway
and tightens her grip on your shirt

She won’t let you go.
You know how old women are.
They stick to you like a burr.

You turn around and face her
with an air of finality.
You want to end the farce.

When you hear her say,
‘What else can an old woman do
on hills as wretched as these?’

You look right at the sky.
Clear through the bullet holes
she has for her eyes.

And as you look on,
the cracks that begin around her eyes
spread beyond her skin.

And the hills crack.
And the temples crack.
And the sky falls

With a plate-glass clatter
Around the shatterproof crone
who stands alone

And you are reduced
to so much small change
in her hand


You look right at the sky
Clear through the bullet-holes
She has for eyes.

The old woman’s eyes are just two gaping holes filled with empty air,with the hills and the sky.Then the cracks begin around her eyes ,spreading beyond her skin and then the hills crack, the temples crack and the sky cracks and the the sky finally shatters and falls like plate-glass. The old woman herself is shatter-proof and nothing happens to her .Only you get instantly reduced to small change in her hand .It is you who shatter because her eyes are already bullet-holes which are formed with the cracks around the holes.

One comment on ““An Old Woman” -By Arun Kolatkar

  1. […] Arun Kolatkar’s poem “An Old Woman” an old woman grabs hold of the speaker’s sleeve, an experience I’ve had myself here in […]

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