My Mother

My mother-

She sees her face blurry in the mirror

Her doublechin is endless.

She doesn’t dare look into her eyes.

.

My mother-

She remembers her laughter as another life

The trees, animals, rocks, brooks, so unreal.

Her daughers? Do they think of her? Definitely

Not as much as she thinks of them, not even close.

.

My mother-

The garlic stinks under her fingernails

Hands once soft, now resemble the scrubbing brush.

The milk boils and she lifts the kettle with her bare hands

Nothing burns her anymore.

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My mother-

What are her dreams, her secret thoughts, her sighs all about?

Nobody asked between dinner and washing dishes.

Now her eyes are tired, but nobody is there to see.

The people she want are far away, or lost behind hazy glows.

.

My mother-

Sometimes she is so faint

I fear she will vanish with her next breath.

Bedtime Story

Let me tell you a bedtime story.

A story which began a long long time ago

In a faraway place, hidden deep inside

Called the heart.

The heart led a happy life:

It would be happy as long as it listened

To her wise mother’s words, “Dear Heart,

Never visit your ugly neighbour, Memory”.

But one day Heart leapt across the gate

And paid a visit to Memory,

And this bedtime story is about

The sad results of this visit.

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This is a story about happy eyes

That turned dull, of smiles frozen,

Of days that dragged by, of

Forgettable people and fleeting joys.

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This is a story of numbness

And an all surprassing loneliness:

Of dejection, and a constant

Dull ache right below the skin.

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It’s about always feeling cold,

The tips of your fingers constantly freezing,

About laughter and words sounding distant

And never experiencing a moment of silence.

.

Oh, do you not want to hear this story?

Then go to sleep, darling. But remember,

Sleep isn’t a safe place anymore;

That’s where those hands always find you.

Waiting

One day, I hope not to wait

Watching as you eraseĀ  me

In new faces, places and stations.

I do not want to always hear

Your hurried goodbyes, two and a half minute

Long conversations about how busy you are,

While your friends laugh in the background.

.

I do not want to watch my days go away

As I watch my phone to make it ring,

My decision to be cold and not pick up

Evaporating the moment I hear your hey.

.

One day I hope to be you

Letting places and people push me around

Then I will not have to try

To make you a memory, it would be too easy

To forget you in the time I am busy.

 

 

The Mouthless Woman

The drip of a leaky tap

Has turned into a gush of blood.

I am terrified of time:

Its malevolent, fickle movements.

The night no longer embraces me

In its absolute blackness:

I can hear all of its voices now.

I fear if I turn just an inch,

They will tear my skin off.

.

I find myself being afraid

Of so many, many things.

I am so full of secrets.

History’s pull is stringer now

I dare not imagine a future

Rid of yesterday’s scratches and screams.

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I fear I will turn

Into the mouthless woman

Decked in her father’s sweat

And her mother’s tired expectations.

The mouthless woman is dangerous:

She lets him have her life.

More importantly, when she finds a voice

It will only say, “Keep your eyes down, dear”,

“Do not provoke them, daughter”,

Or worst, “you’ll grow up to be just like me”.

I Don’t Want Your Pride

You said you were proud of me

I do not want that.

I don’t want your praise

When I do what you approve of.

If my actions sometimes cross over

To your neatly structured plans for my life,

That is only a coincidence, not a deliberate realignment.

.

I don’t want you to be proud

Pride is dependent on so many fragile conditions

That I will surely disappoint,

Or make myself bitter in making you smile.

.

I don’t want your pride

I want your hugs on a tired day:

Gently rub my arm as you press me to you

And let me know it’s fine, humans fail too.

The Last Photo before Goodbye

My hands shook when I clicked it –
You were laughing so hard that I couldn’t be still
I didn’t realize the flash was on:
It came out blurry,
You with red eyes and a far too wide mouth,
The background indecipherable.
.
I want to always remember you like this:
Slightly blurred, distorted sweetly by memory
This one-dimensional image of you will grow
Fonder to me as you seem lovelier with each day.
Let me forget the absurd pain and funny anger intrinsic in any close bond
Until I face the inevitable disappointment that meeting you will be.

Little Happy Days

Little happy days like these:

Summer suns which suddenly dissolved into

Soft winds, wandering clouds and grey rains,

Long walks to nowhere, laughing at my songs,

Roadside momos and juicy mango shakes,

Hurried mutton dosa and a tiny cup of vanilla ice cream,

The bed on my floor: I look up and see an endless sky

And the wandering clouds lazily chasing each other.

Coffee grounded by my grandmother. A room just for me.

A place where I can look up to see an everlasting sky

Where only the wandering clouds smile back.

Little happy days like these, soon to be over,

Always to be loved in that happy place in my heart.