Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mother sits by the side of
Jheeli Dal


Even as her grandchildren,
children, their wives

and even her old husband
now float on Jheeli Dal
like little yellow ducks
in a pitless bath tub

Mother
is still

counting the sound
her bones now make
as she sits by the side of 

Jheeli Dal


Never in her life has she been on a Shikara
or on anything afloat


She keeps to an ancient pledge,

'Not for us. It is not meant for us.'



A son soon joins her company.
'It is too hot anyway!'


Mother and son now sit side by side
by the side of
Dal Lake
On boulevard road
under one of those signature street lamps.


'Mother, look mother, look,'
a man from Pattan approaches them.
A crowd gathers in response to the call.
'Moji, wuch,'
he says as he takes off his khan dress
and turns his bare back
to an embarrassed and shocked old woman

'Look mother, look, what they did to me!'

There are burn marks,
there are what were once wounds
of flesh and blood
She sees the maps,
carved
She sees islands,
She sees lakes,
She sees roads,
She sees men,
on move
always
She sees countries,
She sees continents,
She sees the world.
Spinning.
She sees me.

'You remember when you where young, and in summers you used to run around shirtless.
And I used to tease you: you shirtless zyinmohnyu, you shirtless woodcutter, please cover up, go get a shirt.'


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