All posts filed under: Poetry Archive

Thhuk Pand Te

There was never enough for cab fare so we walked within the small radius of our lives, mum & I. What would decades on; be diagnosed as arthritis first conceived itself as a stretching pain in the back of my knees. I hated walking. Flapping my heels against my butt, I’d slow down, as mum dragged me on and often to sweeten my slog, en route temples or doctors, she’d buy me a large frosted cup of crushed orange ice, knowing already it was surefire laryngitis for my cords, knowing already she was over-budget yet instead of letting me into the gloom of deficit, she’d sugar our stride with mmms and aaahs as I fed her tiny tastes, cold syrup saffroning her tongue with which she’d lick her thumb, count money over and over, hunched at the edge of the bed, darkening the minus symbol at the tally point of her slow calculations. Those nights when she VapoRubbed my neck, massaged warm coconut oil behind my knees I’d mime, taxi, next time and she’d say …

Hardness

Who hardened you like this? Thickets of “protection” fortified around your heart “Protect you from what?” I ask The emptiness in your eyes replied in place of the silence of your lips Resting and waning The tide pulls back viciously Draining the earth around it You give and you take your love away Stow-away for “safekeeping” Closed down so good even you couldn’t find yourself I’d like to believe there was once a spark where your fingertips grazed the curves of life’s edges A glisten in your eye when you spoke life into the ears of the universe Hope in your heart where now hollowness pervades Because to feel nothing is better than to ache I said “What did they take away?” But I meant “What did they leave you with?” A fragment of your own reckoning Without the whisper of desire to put yourself back together again And for what? Time to be filled with emptiness As vapid as the distractions that divide meaning from the meaningless Hope from the hopefulness Empty as the …

Floorboards Hold Memory

The fear of the darkness kept me away from the fuzzy lavender carpet I harken the spirit in me that rather dance the night away That keeps the buried grief at bay That rather explore the unexplained And dance Twirling in the tv light in my fear Ears perked for the footsteps One-two…one-two… the legato beats boom through the base of the floorboards The ceiling above creaks, telling me who’s around the corner by analyzing these beats My dad the offbeat rhythm But no base beats harder and firmer than the steps of my mother’s Who empties her anger into the carpet until it pounds the floorboards Words never spoken, come alive in her walk The way she washes the dishes as if breaking them would be the better solution But her voice barely louder than a whisper so as not to break the eggshells under our feet that linger In the space deep beneath the floorboards It’s safer this way to release the pent-up aggression in words unsaid It’s how I’ve learned to twirl …

Flesh as Mother

I’m only as strong as I am soft The first earth between your feet The soft mounds of flesh that blanketed your skin The landscape of striations and colors like a canyon stretching over the hills that you call home Cradling my hearth From my heart to the nest of my womb From my spine to the depth of my spoon I hold stories in my waters From which I birth myself and you too I am blood as much as I am bone Cradling the strength of you standing on your own As I find my balance The pillows of my flesh are always here to lay your head So many nights my sobs gave me new breath So many days laughter freed the pain from my chest I’m not without blemish I drink from the roots of Love when there’s nothing left I’m only as fearless as I am tender I am the clay malleable in your hands As you take shape of the space I hold for you We are of each …

Stage IIa

The famous doctor, who is highly skilled in optimism says, mastectomy is just not needed for my mother. He looks at her breasts, cups his hands in prayer to mean: these are god’s gifts. Rain falls as if god is moved and something the size of a glass marble moves inside my mother. Only this time it is not as simple as her sadness.  On the way out, my dad collects his coat and courage, hand on his heart says, We are not worried at all,  doctor sahab, about vanity, remove it if needed. Within five days, the city receives half its annual rain. Within a year from the visit,  dad & I weave If-only sentences. What a shame they sound like  compared to the hymns she sang, the little gods she tied around our healthy bodies. Was the doctor’s verdict a medical verdict or a man’s verdict on what a woman must have to look like a woman? Like inseparable drops doubts pool at our sills.  We cry with the other not looking. And …