Tuesday, 26 November 2019


by Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad

seated at the old Bechstein,
I play Louis Armstrong
amidst the mess hall clatter
of cups and spoons
tantrums and moans,
humming in my head -
‍‍‍trees of green,
red roses too,
I see them bloom,
for me and you.

she steals up behind me,
a living husk
her mind long bleached,
gathering the bulk of my hair
in a coal knot
clenched in a manacled grip
against her breast.

perhaps my mane sparks
a ruptured memory
of something pleasant,
her laughter like a xylophone,
is peppered with mumbling,
slowly dissolving to sniffles.

a carer runs up, apologising,
loosening her fingers
gently freeing my hair,
as the tension in my scalp subsides
the barks and groans grow loud
the room slumping on my shoulders
leaden and godless,
and I keep playing, believing,
Yes I think to myself
What a wonderful world.

* * * * *

 “Believing” is based on the author's experience as a volunteer pianist in a home for the elderly.

Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad is a Sydney based artist, poet, and pianist. She holds a Masters in English and is a member of Sydney’s North Shore Poetry Project and Authora Australis. Her recent works have been published in Red Eft Review, Glass Poetry Journal’s Poets Resist, Eunoia Review, Underwood Press’ Rue Scribe, The Maier Museum of Art’s Journal of Ekphrastic Poetry, Plum Tree Tavern, and The Rye Whiskey Review. She has poems forthcoming in the Rat’s Ass Review. Oormila regularly performs her poetry and exhibits her art at shows in Sydney.

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