What’s a man to do?

“Let me out, you … of a woman.
Let me out right now, I say.
So what if I was a little drunk?
What’s a man to do, anyway,
When he can’t feed his family?
Can’t even sleep around for cash.
Open up, you … … …
Let me out!”

She fed her kids some milky rice.
And fed her cat some watery milk.
And fed her Tulsi some starchy water.
And fed herself some ricey starch.
She didn’t say any words aloud.
But he saw them very clearly writ
Through the grille he shook so hard.
Through his eyes, bloody still.

He sat inside his prison grille.
She sat outside with coloured paste.
He drew his breaths of cursing whines.
She drew her signs of the Karthik month.
He talked a lot of parting legs.
She chalked a lot of lotus feet.
He kicked the grille once a while.
She dipped her chalk, calm and still.
He slept when his bluster slumped.
She wept when her doodle dried.
He snored and only snored some more.
She wore her Temple saree pressed,
Unlocked the grille, walked out the door
With Tulsi leaves and frightened kids.

“Let me in, you … of a man.
Let me in right now, I say.
Is this what a man’s to do?
When he is pissing money away?
Open up, you … … …
Let me in!”

He traced her doodle, curve by curve.
She watched his bloody fingers dance.
He dipped his palm in the opened cat.
She closed their eyes with her hands.