Amma – a poem by Sam Burns

Sam Burns

Amma rolls fatly
down the dusty morning chowk,
cradling a kadai.

Her dreamy grandson
totters at her heels. He lives
in another world.

Amma bends between
a bull’s hind legs and scoops dried
dung into the bowl.

She chatters gaily
to the barefoot toddler with
the thousand-yard stare.

Amma wipes sweat with
her bangled wrist. The child sways
in the rising sun.

The bull butts the gate
of the grain store. The road melts.
The whole city yawns.

Amma spreads her skirts,
squats, rolls dung, jokes with schoolboys,
secretly pisses.

Her small grandson stands
between the horns of the bull,
gazes till it runs.

‘Amma’ by Sam Burns was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (August 2016) judged by Terry Jones.