Asides

once in a while you visit : a memory of my great-grandmother.

once in a while, you visit,
sudden, un-beckoned, always acknowledged
with a smile infinitely sad and tender
that unfolds its butterfly wings
and dragonfly depth
in the space between breaths,
somewhere between my remembering heart
and my childhood me.
once in a while, you visit,
bestowing upon the instant
scents and tastes, confetti-like,
and right now, it was a waft of Sunday and winter,
the pastel clear sweetness of dragées,
sugar cool like old-fashioned water, and sticky;
right now, it was a murmur of your smell,
honeysuckle cologne too fresh and flowery for truth,
weaved into the vaguely brittle mustiness
of your deep old-age,
and a hundred years of gazing up at the moon every night,
before sleep.

my mother’s mother.

 

i don’t HAVE a country,  i AM the stories of my life lived & dreamed,
the stories of my parents,
the stories of this life & the one before & the one before
& all that flowed in between.
India is my mother’s land.
when part of myself was part of my mother part of her mother,
i was a tiny egg in my unborn mother in her mother’s womb,
& my unconceived cells breathed the music of India,
her carnatic clamours & temple bells,
muezzin calls floating in & out of tune in jasmine-clad air,
her immense sadnesses & her knowing silence,
the sandalwood song of my mother’s mother’s skin
& her hips rolling slow in cotton sari,
wrapped around her warm belly & my unfurling mother & me- unthought of.
India is not a country to me,
she is this unspoken song always remembered.
and this is why my heart breaks every time my feet land on her noisy, dusty, impossibly contradictory soil,
& every time i say goodbye, my heart breaks once more.