Father

Father-
When you ask me
to decipher jumbled-up words
From the day’s newspaper,
I take a moment,
To memorize the half-smile
On your face as you take
the black-and-white sheet back.
I keep looking for that smile
In the arms of lovers and
the eyes of friends,
and only sometimes
do I discover it,
in the bathroom mirror.

Father-
I write about everyone
except us, lest you should
One day find it and say,
like always, that you
do not understand,
even without reaching
the end.
Each line that you don’t read
Sets us back,
A little more,smothered
by layers of conversations
About lunches and dinners
And the weather.

Father-
I have dozens of
shushed stories stashed away
with my childhood, enough to last
the rest of your days; and still,
every time you read someone else,
I abandon mine and wish to be
them, instead.
But,Father,
My writing and I
are not quite the puzzles
you imagine-
I think
we could still figure out
all the garbled sentences
that have been scratching
our silences for too long,
if only we take
one jumbled-up word
at a time. You could still be
the best story I ever live.

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My Grandmother is still not dead

In my dream,

We’re still in the hospital.

There are more people coming,

To pay their respects to the last

Of my grandmother’s shallow breaths

They have enough of their own

To waste in platitudes

They insist that saying goodbye

Is the only proper thing to do,

(for closure)

I tremble as I touch a hand

That raised me to know sunlight

A touch I can remember now

When I hold snow for too long

In my dream,

She’s always alive as my hand meets

Her oxygen mask

And because I know how it has to end

I do it.

In my dream,

She dies.

Is it because I killed her?

 

It’s been seven years since she last breathed

And my grandmother is still not dead.

In memoriam, childhood

It is not right to make a mockery
of childhood memories.
To take kaleidoscopic dreams
and sort them by size
and discard those that do not fit
their idea of blue.
Blue is not an idea; it is a memory,
My memory.
Of the old lunch box I ate from
all alone, and
that slide in the park I never climbed.
Blue just is,
like I just am, still waiting
for them to see,
That happiness doesn’t come in only
checks or stripes
that one size doesn’t fit us all,
And that’s alright.