Puddles swell, merge and snail across the floor,
Clear-as-mirror tiles gather dust and shards of nails,
The wind is too noisy, the space it occupies too wide.
The quiet that chokes my mother seems maximal,
It rises in her throat, fumes through her mouth
And burns her eyes with tears.
A sadness that is tired, weakened in its defenses,
Is protected by a shield of rehearsed loneliness.
If you held this rubbered red thing in your palm
And squeezed a finger into it,
There is no telling if it will remain distorted
Or hit you in the face with double that force.
On the seesaw of life,
Guilt and pride remain out of balance;
One makes you small, the other weighs you down.
Reverse the order by tying each emotion in a bag,
Hurl them at somebody and see what happens.
Guilt becomes someone else’s; pride no longer yours.
Enjoy the seesaw until a flung bag finds you.
Like rays of sunshine in a child’s drawing
That remain outside the hot core, untouched,
My mother emits warmth and light, unfailingly,
Even as her core consumes her own fuel.
The warmth reaches me, tightens its grip
Protected I feel as I repeatedly trip.
Hands and hips and steps and slips
Abound on wheeling doors and windows of this city.
Our fathers go from black to grey to bald
And fate frees the one who finally gets called.
Home appear stationary, its ground stable,
Even as the puddles there swell under the table.
Imagine a flame, immune to directions of winds,
Propels itself uniformly in one direction only –
Invisible forces tipping its balance in their favour.
My dad’s jubilance is absolute and resolute –
Despite years of practice in unwanted motion –
When he sees me travel in a car.
We have electricity means we get to keep it
Unused even when we sleep,
Unused even while we cook.
Such is the fear of a once empty pocket,
Such is the habit of an always working hand –
Turning off things; driving away people.
While he zones into self-satisfied mirth –
Piercing southward the phone screen,
Answering westward the call to prayer –
His better half sinks into depression, quietly.
A dark cloud pelts loneliness on her alone;
Resigned, she too picks up her phone.
Worlds masking as skin, flesh, man, woman –
Burnt out like the blackened, dormant Mercury,
Burnt out indefinitely, irreparably, unequivocally –
Clamor, collide, suffer, and endlessly survive,
And go on as the TV would at night,
Photography by: Badarost on Pexels