The Sick Child
by Shazia Ali


Turmeric and milk, that beastly combination
Filled to the brim in a glass cup and warmed
Brought to the sick bed of that temperamental
Child who pushes it away, frowns and pouts.
A tiny sip, cajoled and held in soft arms,
With a fragrance of jasmine and a hint of musk,
Snuggling into the covers of a loved bed
Tossing in the middle of the night as a soothing
Vicks balm is warmly rubbed with silky hands
On the infinitesimal chest and an ethereal back.
Memories of those cough-ridden, fever-stricken
Nights fade into the smoky past of childhood
Until a whiff of that Vicks balm or the taste
Of turmeric with milk brings back the memory
Of soft arms, and jasmine with a hint of musk.






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