In My Village

By Geethanjali Kurian

In my village
they make offerings
of miniature metal bows and arrows
to St Sebastian.

Supplicants wade 500 metres
off the fractured bitumen
barefoot through scalding beach sand,
holding jewelled umbrellas to shelter their offering.

A lone drummer and skinny pipe player
provide raucous fanfare,
cleaving a path through the press of devotees,
who now prayed out,
crowd thatched stalls piled
with bangles, plastic buckets, pots n pans, and toy guns.

Inside the church St Sebastian is trussed
to a leafless Milanese tree trunk, artfully draped
with a wisp of white marble cloth;

his graceful torso and muscled thighs
marred by painted blood
dripping down from the tasselled silver arrow
prettily piercing his flank.

At his feet lies a metal hill of bows and arrows
reminding him of his agony;
while devotees demand his intercession,
as payback for their devotion.

In my village
they make offerings
of curried fish in earthen pots
to men,
their bodies artlessly draped over scuffed tables,
wood corroded by the sweat of  
a century of other men;

clutching murky bottles of arrack
brewed with battery acid and lizards,
rotten fruit fermenting until
water becomes wine.

In my village
they make offerings
of necklaces to women,
with tiny phallic lockets
that belie their weight;
yoked to mortars on which they grind
hellish mixtures that sear the gut

Geethanjali Kurian is a Sydney based producer and writer for documentary films. Her films focus on social, human interest and environmental issues with a community outreach and engagement mission. She began writing poetry just over a year ago.