Tonight I look upon a full moon, red and bathed in blood

I remember my native country

Where weretigers come to life

In demonic trances of old medicine men.


My grandmother once told me

Of foreign voices and men thirsty for blood

Of a brave woman who withstood them all

My great grandmother, of course.


“I remember the night I escaped

From the grip of the supernatural

The curse of the father of that house”

She had said.


I remember the stories of wretched witches

And a vindictive man cursing through her door.

She said, it was the blood that saved her


Maybe that is why

I bathe myself in blood too,


Just as the moon does

Every six months or so


I think that was what the preacher had said.


My father talked of flying saucers

And old soul reapers

Of bottomless pits

And beautiful mirages.


My uncle said, “There were two kinds of angels.

The godly and the demonic.

You would not like the latter.

They pull men into sordid lakes

Tempt them with river stones,

Disguised as pieces of divine bread.”


He also said,

“Those angels (Or devils, I am not sure)

They disguise themselves in forms of fish

They fear the broom and not garlic,

As you would expect.”


I was told by a friend

That the forest in my ancestral village is sacred

Someone else said it was cursed.

All I know is there have been men

Who have had bodies

Turn backwards with their heads forward

All for love of defying what the ancestors forbade.


I walked into the same forest

That sacred grove.

I had no fear for I was marked with blood.


I met a man in there

Amidst the thick of the brushwood

He said he was a guide.

He showed us round stone tables

Where he said,

Girls like me, were sacrificed to spirits

Of the earth and of the wood.


I think it was the blood

That saved my life that day.


I learnt much later,

He was a spirit.

No guide was known.

That man, with us

With his unkempt beard and haunting yellow eyes

Was never once seen before (or again)


No one had known what the tables were for

No one dared ask. The ancestors had some purpose there.

No one knew.

With the exception of the haunting image of that man.

He knew.


I still remember the way his eyes

Seemed to penetrate through my spirit.


My friends screamed when he turned around

As we neared the waterfalls

His eyes seemed to burn with fire,

A fire that seem cold and dark

Like no fire I had ever seen.


We ran till it rained.

And there he was

At the edge of that forest

Having outran us without us noticing.


Some cried, some panicked.

I prayed,

Remembering the blood on my forehead.


Maybe that is why I was not sacrificed

To those spirits of the earth and the wood.


*The above picture is of the sacred grove,” Lawkyntang” in Mawphlang, Meghalaya, India.












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