Brand names are important


by Divya Rajan

“When Alzheimer strikes, the nouns are the first words to go.”
–          The doctor tells the central female character in Poetry, Lee Chang-dong’s poignant movie.

There was a time when she’d ogle
At the incongruities, disproportionate parameters, faded corners
Of the used blender, dishwasher, coffee grinder, microwave, oven,
Appliances on pitch granite. She’d touch the surface
To check for grease, ready the ammonia solution.
Not anymore.
Clutches of the consonants, arching vowels
Into strict oblongs. It’s important to tame the waywards,
They don’t crack like consonants, fluidity begging
To be reined in.
Hamilton Beach, Frigidaire, Bosch, Kenmore.
Whatever is repeated, thrives.
That’s true for floss, and other things too.
Waking up with dislodged memory, is a fear
She shall not succumb to.
Forgetfulness is a trait she shall not inherit.

Toxicity reports are due in a week.
She’d peruse the list of carcinogens, their mandated FDA limits, analyzing
Minutiae of branched polymers of acetamide. This is not the mandatory routine
Of every chemist. Of late, she has learnt to focus
On the bonnes choses.
Rummaging through racks of collagen/corticoid supplements, you’ll find
Kids’ and adults’ omega-3s, gummy bear calciums, primrose oil capsules sharing the same rack.
It is not an accident, nor is it a disorganized mind’s folly.
You’ll see Biocell alongside Burt’s Bees,
And you revel in the pattern.
Let’s not forget the Les Demoiselles d’Avignon of kitchen necessities.
Likewise, in the bath, there’re no shampoos, conditioners, foot polish scrubs.
Only L’Oreal, Aroma nice, Now, Sally Hansen, the ilk.

Pay attention to tags at the back of your collars, kiddos.
Pay close attention to manufacturer’s details,
Where the fabric comes from, the size and washing instructions.
Your mind is like a sieve, and certain words cannot be retrieved.
Her unsure fingers thrummed on the piano
As she strained to remember the piano teacher’s name.
She was Polish, her last name, Pavlov or Pavlova. She told her many things,
One of which was, “Nod in sympathy
With those who scoff at you. Not in agreement.”

Beside her bed, on the nightstand, lay a notepad
For jotting down names of Hindu goddesses and their husbands.

About the Author:

Divya Rajan’s poems have been nominated for the Pushcart and The Best of the Net. She has served on the editorial teams of The Furnace Review, Asian Cha (Guest) and The Best of the Net anthologies. She lives in a Buddhist monastery in an idyllic town, south of the Himalayas, inside her head.