Small Gods

Becky May

We reminisce about dahl baht, the way it coated our tongues, the rice fluffed to perfection, the greens we´d try not to eat. We remember the way our mothers would look at us if we´d dirtied our school shirts. We talk of our neighbourhood temple, the stray cats on reddened earth, the marigolds garlanded from statues. We conjure up the early morning sounds of the city, the shops scrolled open, mint tea being poured.

Now, there´s an incessant blare. Trucks, buses, bikes. They careen around the curves. Push for space on the mountain road. Sometimes, one of us will clamber up from the valley. We´ll press our hand to the stone. Long to find warmth where our families left flowers.

Now, every day is the same. We stretch across the mangled seats, remember how we lay back in them, crunching banana chips. We try not to think of how far we fell, how fast. We extract ourselves from the metal carcass, push past the figures that swing from the driver´s mirror, a golden Ganesha hanging from a red ribbon, a grinning Buddha, these gods we put our trust in. Crouching in the undergrowth, we distract ourselves by watching for small animals. Above us, Tamang songs drift down as the morning traffic begins. Sometimes, we sing along.

Becky May´s poetry and short fiction have been published in various literary magazines and anthologies, including Roi Fainéant Press, EllipsisZine and Ink, Sweat & Tears. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @beckymaywriter.